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 www.kathleenrupff.com

  • 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 susanpanzica.com.

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 edla519michellemoulton.weebly.com
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.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Story Callout

Heaven Sightings

From James Stuart Bell:
You may recall my role as editor for story collections such as: A Cup of Comfort, Extraordinary Answers to Prayer, Love is a Verb, and a number of books related to Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters.  I am now compiling a story volume for Bethany House Publishers with a working title of Heaven Sightings: Angels, Miracles, and Glimpses of the Afterlife. 

In the past six “supernatural story” volumes I have compiled the focus has been on events and circumstances that had a supernatural element demonstrating God’s power.  In this volume I want you, the writer, to share how there are actually real slices of heaven in this life.  It’s not the wonderful natural phenomena we experience but the supernatural happenings that take place from time to time as God so designates.

Heaven really does touch earth, as alluded to in one of my earlier titles.  Heaven plants itself here in the form of miracles, angels, and even near-death experiences.  We find it also displayed in dramatic healings and gigantic answers to prayer where nothing else can account for it.  This volume will contain a rich mixture of these stories.  I am especially looking forward to experiences of heaven itself, primarily found in near-death encounters with angels and the afterlife.

We’ll consider original, unpublished stories of up to 2,000 words and they must be at least 1,000 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 1,500 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 supernaturalstories2@earthlink.net.  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.

Blessings to you and yours,

James Stuart Bell
For updates you can also join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/993320770756877/

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Meeting this Saturday

February 3, 10 am - noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff
in the Barn (red building on your right as you enter)

Saturday's focus:

The Point Is… In a Nutshell… Finally…

Image compliments of Zazzle.com

How aphorisms add clarity, define purpose, and assist memory.

aph·o·rism \ˈa-fə-ˌri-zəm 

Bring one or two writing samples, such as a blog post, for our discussion of aphorisms and their value.

Our group encourages experienced and novice writers. You are invited to check it out and see if it's a fit for your needs. 

I hope to see you Saturday,

January's Focus Point
Joy in Writing
When I was a child I learned the secret of joy in the form of an anagramJ-O-Y: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. But long before it was contrived as a cute anagram, Jesus spoke it as profound truth. Quoting from Deuteronomy, He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This sure-formula for joy in life, also gives us joy in writing.
God first. Every creative thought, sudden illumination, and golden truth we discover is not original, but comes from God. It is His call, His gift, His message, and His inspiration that speaks to our hearts and draws us to our keyboards. When we are mindful of that, we are focused, motivated and energized—we have purpose that transcends personal recognition, a meaningful hobby, or hopes of a paycheck.
Secondly, think of others. How often are we reminded to think “reader first?” If we’re not writing for readers, we can simply journal. Journaling is easy, communicating is work, but love for others will incite us to action. It will propel us to take the time and make the effort to write, and write well for the benefit of our readers.
The third aspect of the equation is you. The fulfillment, satisfaction andyesjoy that is ours when God is first and others are second cannot be found any other way. When I put myself first, I never have enough, am not good enough, and can’t be satisfied. The biblical order is the way to fulfillment.
When I respond to God’s inspiration and use His gifts to bless my readers, I experience joy in writing.
Take home thought: When it comes to writing, glorifying God is my reason, enriching others is my goal, and joy is my reward. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Need inspiration? Find it this Saturday!

Kick off 2018 with a dose of writing inspiration at NJCWG's first meeting of the year.

January 6, 10:00-noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff,
in the Barn (red building on the right as you enter)

Saturday's Focus: The Joy in Writing

We will share our writing goals for 2018 and discuss the hindrances that hold us back, as well as the joy that propels us forward.

Published and novice writers are invited. Find encouragement for your writing endeavors.  

Image compliments of thepreachersword.com

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Writing Inspiration at Christmas

A blessed Christmas to all our readers! May God's written Word enrich your lives as writers who write for Him. We hope to see you in 2018. Our first meeting is January 6. You will find the Focus Point from our December meeting below. 
The Power of Words

Luke's account of the angels' appearance to the shepherds is familiar, but let's look at it from a writer's perspective. What was the point of the angels' visit? They came to pro-claim that the Messiah was born, but note the progression of their message (Luke 2:8-15):
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Although the angels arrived on the hillside with an important announcement, they first gave the shepherds a moment to focus with their first words, "Do not be afraid.” They had the shepherds’ attention but needed to prepare them to listen. In fiction we may throw our readers right into the story, but nonfiction needs heart preparation.

The angels still didn’t make their announcement; they stated their purpose—"I bring you good news...” In our writing readers like to know where they’re headed, why they’re reading this piece. They need additional preparation.

Finally, the announcement was made,"A Savior has been born to you.” Once the shepherds were prepared, the angels told them the heart of the matter, followed by a simple explanation. As writers, when we introduce our theme it should be simple and straightforward.

The angels conclude with details, which are also a teaser. "You will find a baby…lying in a manger.” They don’t tell the shepherds what to do, but entice them to discover the truth for themselves. The result is action:
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." (v15)
Isn't that the goal of our writing? We offer our readers hope, encouragement, and information with the hope they will make it theirs and take action.

Take away: Just as God is gentle with us, be gentle with your readers. Patiently prepare a path of understanding that whets their appetite for more and, hopefully, inspires action.
Photo compliments of endoftheage.blogspot.com

Monday, December 04, 2017

Check it out!

To pre-order the 2018 Christian Writer Market Guide for $18 postage paid, click here. Deadline Dec. 20. 2017.

Tidbits from Saturday's meeting:

  • You may be surprised by this Grammar quiz  from TheWriteLife.com
  • Here's the infographic of 25 Tips:

25 Tips to Tighten Your Copy:
Source: https://thewritelife.com/grammar-quiz/