Friday, May 25, 2018

Meeting this Saturday

NJCWG's Monthly Meeting

June 2, 10 am - 12 pm

Cornerstone Christian Church
in the Barn (second building on the right as you enter) 
495 Wyckoff Ave., Wyckoff

This Saturday, Susan will share information about connections and growing audience.
Whether you're an experienced writer or a wannabe, we welcome you,

May's Focus Point

Blessed Repetition

In chapter 12, verse 12 of Ecclesiastes, the Teacher wrote, “Of making many books there is no end…” living in the digital age, we could expand that and say, “Of the writing of many words there is no end.”

I don’t know if Andre Gide ever read Ecclesiastes, but this quote could be taken as a response to that verse: “Everything has been said before. But since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.” (Andre Gide, Le Traite du Narcisse)

How many times have you heard a familiar message presented a different way and suddenly you got it? Or, how often have you spoken into a friend’s life to no avail and someone else comes along saying the same thing and it clicks?

I remember being discouraged because it seemed God was repeating a message to me over and over but I wasn’t changing. Unaware of my struggles, a sanguine friend (and we all need positive sanguines in our lives) was bubbling over with gratitude and said, “Isn’t it wonderful that God will keep repeating the same message until we get it?”

Prior to the Teacher’s comment about the abundance of books we find that it may not be as defeatist as it sounds. Read the verses right before it (9-11):
Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails — given by one Shepherd.
  • He searched to find just the right words, 
  • Writing what was upright and true 
  • And his words were like goads, firmly embedded nails. 
Take home thought: “Of making many books there is no end…” (Eccl. 12:12) and I will add mine to the count, searching for just the right words—upright and true words—to prod my readers to stand firm in their faith.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Submission opportunity

Miracles Do Happen
A Guideposts Compilation

NOTE: Do not reply or send submissions to this email address. Send all submissions to Jeanette Littleton at

James Stuart Bell is putting together this compilation for Guideposts. It is a separate book from his other current callout for Heaven Sightings for Bethany House. Jeanette said this book requires a quicker turnaround, so get your submissions in as soon as possible to be considered for the Guideposts book.

The deadline is not fixed. See "rolling due date" info below.
From James Stuart Bell:

Dear Contributor,

You may recall my role as editor for story collections such as: A Cup of Comfort, Extraordinary Answers to Prayer, and a number of books related to Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters, published by Bethany House.  I am now helping to compile a story volume for Guideposts entitled Miracles Do Happen.  I have added a summary of the subject matter by chapters with additional considerations at the end of this letter.  Chapters three through ten comprise the story categories of the book from which you can choose.  These stories must have at their heart a true miracle, something that simply cannot happen by natural means.  (See guidelines and considerations below.)

We’ll consider original, unpublished stories of up to 1,500 words and they must be at least 900 words.  The stories should have a creative title, an attention-grabbing introduction, main body with a conflict or challenge, and a clear, satisfying resolution.  They need to be descriptive, rooted in time and place, with a realistic portrayal of the characters involved.

They also need to be substantive stories rather than mere testimonies or teachings, and the focus should not be just on the supernatural realm alone, but rather the spiritual lesson learned.  Please include a personal biography of 30 words or less at the end of each manuscript.

We will have a rolling due date for the manuscript until we receive our quota of stories but would appreciate your submission within a month of receiving this email.  Please send your manuscript attached to the e-mail rather than pasting text in the email window.  Send your manuscript in normal manuscript formatting in Times New Roman, 12-point, with your full contact information--name, address, phone number, and e-mail address at the top of the first page.  We are offering a one-time fee of $50 for stories 1,250 words and over, and $25 for stories under that word count.                            

We will send you contracts upon the publisher’s acceptance and would need them back promptly.  Payment will be made after all contracts have been received.  Please direct all inquiries and manuscript submissions to my colleague, Jeanette Littleton, at  If this e-mail has been forwarded to you, and you can’t submit to this call, but would like to hear about other editorial needs as they arise, please send us your e-mail address and we’ll add you to our notification list.

If you have a specific chapter you think your manuscript fits, please note that in the manuscript—near your contact information.

Blessings to you and yours,

James Stuart Bell

Story Descriptions, Guidelines, and Considerations:
Chapter 3 – Nature and Animals
         Stories: miracles involving nature and animals
Chapter 4 – Children
         Stories: miracles involving children
Chapter 5 – Dreams and Visions
         Stories: dreams and visions
Chapter 6 – Healing
         Stories: physical and emotional healing
Chapter 7 – At the Right Moment
         Stories: coincidence, divine providence, timing, just in the nick of time
Chapter 8 – Spiritual Growth
         Stories: awakening, reawakening, conversion
Chapter 9 – Prosperity
         Stories:  financial, money matters
Chapter 10 – Answered Prayers
         Stories: miscellaneous

Story Guidelines:
  • First person experience of a miraculous encounter or event
  • Amazing and miraculous, as opposed to a gentle, inner nudge
  • Must express a Christian connection and worldview; no preaching
  • Experience should be grounded in a real-life situation: physical setting, time, place, context of the person’s life
  • Must not have been previously published
Miscellaneous Considerations:
  • The wonder of a miracle is that its cause is hidden.
  • Against all odds
  • Soul-stirring accounts that reassure the reader that God is watching over them.
  • Give reader hope that a miracle can happen to him or her
  • Help the reader to look beyond what she or he experiences with the five senses to realize that God is holding him or her up.
  • Ordinary people experiencing extraordinary events
  • Protection from danger; sending in His angels
  • Interceding when reader’s faith needs to be strengthened
  • Cried out to God and received an answer
  • Bolster and encourage faith
  • Everyday people just like the reader experiencing miracles
  • Includes biblical references and useful prayers
For updates you can also join us at

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Submission Opportunity with agent Cyle Young

Cyle Young, an agent with Harline Literary Agency, is seeking new submissions:

Send me your best submissions. :)

My team is having an open submission period from May1st-June 30th. Send you submissions to

We are looking for children's, MG, YA, and adult audience books for the general and Christian markets. Both nonfiction and fiction accepted.

We look forward to reading your submission.


Copyright © 2018 Serious Writer, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Serious Writer
P.O. Box 1
ClarklakeMi 49234

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Meeting this Saturday

NJCWG Monthly Meeting

May 5
10 am - 12 pm

Cornerstone Christian Church
in the Barn (second building on the right as you enter) 
495 Wyckoff Ave., Wyckoff

A gathering of writers of any genre and experience, and writer wannabes.

Hope to see you Saturday,

April's Focus Point:

Clear Answers Require Work

No one around this table will deny writing is work. It may be glamorized as brilliant inspiration flowing from mind, through fingers, to keyboard, and, voila—bestselling pages appear. But we know perspiration is a larger component than inspiration. As I considered 1 Peter 3:15 this week, I found a key reason why we labor over our writing:

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks 
you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (NIV) 

Christian writing offers reasons for hope. Our blogs encourage belief, our fiction portrays examples of living life well, our articles encourage readers to draw near to God. In all our writing—whether expository, entertaining, poetic, informative or humorous—Christians offer a path to hope because we know the Source of hope.

The first part of this verse, “Always be prepared to give an answer” is the reason for our endless editing, tedious research, and painful rewriting. We don’t recklessly put words on paper, we labor to make those words understandable and palatable for our readers, presenting clear answers for the hope we have.

Today we will be looking at clunky sentences and overused adjectives. Why? Why spend time doing this? Because we want to write as clearly and concisely as possible, so our words will be readily received.

Take home thought: Preparation is worth the work because it enables us to offer hope to our readers.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Meeting - Change of Date Reminder

This month, the NJCWG will meet on 
the SECOND Saturday of the month instead of the first. 

Date: Sat. April 14
Time: 10 am - 12 pm

Same place:
The Barn at Cornerstone Christian Church
495 Wyckoff Ave.
Wyckoff, NJ 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Two of our members won recognition at St. Catherine of Bologna's Annual Photography, Art & Poetry Exhibition in Ringwood this weekend.

  • Kathy Rupff won the Spirituality Award for her poem, "Your Love Heals Me." Additionally, she won the Judge's Choice Art Award for her painting, Transformation, and first place in Art-Mixed Media for her collage, Aslan. Her work can be viewed at

  • Maude Carolan Pych won the Judge's Choice Award for her Purim poem, "Queen Esther, Brave & Beautiful." Read her poem here.
Maude's recently published book of poems Wonderhoods is now available. Ordering information can be found on her website.

Susan Panzica's young adult allegory, The Quest, has just been published and will soon be available on her website at

APRIL MEETING CHANGE: We will meet on the 14th - the second Saturday, not the usual first Saturday of the month. Time & location are the same but we will meet on the second floor (enter door closest to the parking lot). 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Meeting this Saturday

March 4, 10 am - noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff,
in the Barn (red building to the right after entering)

Saturday's topic:

Image compliments of
Genres are comfortable and challenging. They carry freedom and limitations. Join the conversation about stretching our areas of expertise. Please bring a recent copy of The Christian Writers Market Guide, if possible, and at least one suggestion for submission to a periodical, contest, or anthology (other than Chicken Soup). 

Seasoned writers and writing hopefuls are all welcome.

Hope to see you Saturday,

February's Focus Point

Today we will talk about aphorisms, those clever statements that speak volumes with a modicum of words. I had fun looking through New Testament letters to discover the use of what can be considered aphorisms, though I never thought of it that way before. They are not the author’s last words but fall near the ends of the letters and concisely summarize what the writer had more fully explained earlier. This is what I found:
“Finally, …rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.” (2 Cor 13:11)
“Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Gal. 6:17)
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.” (Eph. 6:10-11)
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” (Phil. 3:1)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)
“Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thess. 4:1)
“Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” (2 Thess. 3:1)
“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” (1 Pet. 3:8)
Take home thought: Be concise, clever and creative to present a memorable nugget of inspiration.