Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wrting Opportunity - Chicken Soup For The Soul - Romance

Stories about Love — Finding It and Keeping the Romance Alive
We're looking for stories about how you found love. And how you kept it fresh over the years. New love, old love, please warm our hearts with your stories and poems.
PLEASE NOTE THIS BOOK IS FOR ADULTS, NOT FOR TEENS. We're happy to hear about your high school sweetheart if you ended up together, but we are not looking for stories from current teens about teen relationships.
Here are some suggested topics but we know you can think of many more:
  • The miracle of finding love
  • Amazing coincidences that led to you meeting your soul mate
  • Dreams that came true about finding your soul mate
  • Anything that makes us say "wow" about how you found love!
  • Dating adventures
  • From "friends" to "lovers"
  • Senior dating
  • Reconnecting with someone from your past
  • Rejoining the dating world after divorce or breakups
  • Proposals
  • Rekindling romance in a longer term relationship
  • Anything that entertains our readers or gives them hope that love is around the corner for them, too!
Please remember we no longer publish "as told to" stories. Write your story in the first person. Do not ghostwrite a story for someone else unless you list that person as the author. If a story was previously published, we will probably not use it unless it ran in a small circulation venue. Let us know where the story was previously published in the "Comments" section of the submission form.
All stories should be true — we do not publish fiction — and should be no longer than 1,200 words. If your story was already published in a past Chicken Soup for the Soul book, please do not submit it. We will not publish it again. If you submitted your story for one of our previous books and we did not publish it, please feel free to submit it to this book if you think it will fit. That way we will be sure it is considered for this new edition.
If your story is chosen, you will be a published author and your bio will be printed in the book if you so choose. You will also receive a check for $200 and 10 complimentary copies of your book. You retain the copyright for your story and you retain the rights to resell it or self-publish it.
The deadline date for story and poem submissions is November 30, 2017.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Writing Opportunity for Two Chicken Soup for the Soul titles



Submission deadlines are looming for two Chicken Soup for the Soul titles!
The deadline date for story and poem submissions for two of our future titles is rapidly approaching. The deadline for these titles is Thursday, August 31st. Submissions will not be accepted after that date so if you have something you would like to submit please do it soon. We don't want to miss you.
The two titles are Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories of Redemption. Here is a brief description of what we are looking for:
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More
All of us have experienced events in our lives that are completely unexplainable: the strange premonition that made you take a different route home only, causing you to miss an accident; the eerie feeling that you should call home... now, saving someone's life; the mysterious communication from a loved one who has passed on. Angels, divine timing, miraculous coincidences, answered prayers, premonitions that come true. Good things do happen to good people. Please share your amazing stories that will make us say "wow."
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories of Redemption
Redemption stories can be amazing. What starts out as a negative force can be turned positive and can change the world of ordinary people. There are countless stories of redemption and we want to hear yours. How did you use the negative in your life to move onto a more positive path? What did you do to make up for the wrongs in your past? We are looking for true stories of redemption that will inspire us, restore us, heal us, and make a positive difference to lead a better, more rewarding life because of the example they set. Everyone can make a fresh start.
Important: If you have already submitted your story or poem for either of these titles please do not submit it again. We have it in our database and it will be read by our editors and considered for publication. If you have an additional story or poem then we'd love for you to submit it.
If your story is chosen, you will be a published author and your bio will be printed in the book if you so choose. You will also receive a check for $200 and 10 free copies of your book, worth more than $100. You will retain the copyright for your story and you will retain the right to resell it or self-publish it.
Remember the deadline for these two titles is August 31st and will not be extended.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

June's Focus Point

An Eternal Perspective


Eternity is that which never dies, disappoints, disappears, or disillusions. The word eternity describes the longing of our hearts.
We yearn for that which is perfect—lovely, unaffected by sin—eternal. We have never seen perfection, experienced flawless love or tasted eternity, and yet we long for it. Why? How can we long for something we have not seen? Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us—God has “set eternity in the hearts of men.”
As Christian writers, we can address that human longing because the mystery of eternity has been revealed to us. Psalm 17:15 reads, “And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”
As we write from the perspective of truth—truth that will stand for all eternity—we reveal the eternal God and bring satisfaction to our readers' souls. This is a bold statement but if we don't believe it, why are we writing?
This does not mean our work will be exegetical or theological, though it may be. It does mean that our work will reveal something of the nature and person of Christ, God the Father, and the Spirit of power. Our writing will be based on truth and offer hope. Our words will carry life and the answer to longing hearts.

Take away thought: I will reveal God’s likeness in my writing in a desire to satisfy the soul-hunger of my readers.
See you September 9. This link is to an article you may find inspiringI hope your summer is filled with many words - read and written!
Write for Him,
Barbara

Monday, May 29, 2017

Last Meeting Before Summer

Saturday, June 3

10 am - noon


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

Be prepared to share your summer writing goals 
and 
be inspired by Susan to refresh your blogging.

Last month's focus point is featured below.
Hope to see you Saturday,
Barbara

May's Focus Point

Endless Inspiration

I spent time at the Jersey shore this week. Once again I was struck by the same thought that inspires me every time I return to the beach. I walk through the scrub pines, up the sandy path and crest the dunes to be astounded again—it’s still there! The waves didn’t stop in my absence; they didn’t cease to roll without an audience; they didn’t complete their cycle and rest. Any time of day, any time of year, they relentlessly crest and crash, demonstrating their Creator’s faithfulness, reminding me there is never a time when God’s grace, goodness, kindness, and love is not present. His faithfulness does not depend on my attentiveness or awareness. 

Lamentations 3 reminds us God’s “compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (v.22-23).

Since I had been thinking about this meeting, it wasn’t a stretch to see how this truth affects creative writing. Excusessuch as lack of inspiration, writer’s block, finding a market, feeling we have nothing to say worth reading or that hasn’t been written beforedissolve before God’s relentless faithfulness. There is no end to His wisdom, inspiration and opportunities. It’s there and available. We just have to show up. 

As I walked the beach, I resisted the urge to pick up shells. I reasoned, they’ll be here next time—there are always more shells, which is the point of this meditation. God’s supply never diminishes. The constant, fresh supply shells speaks to me of God’s limitless inspiration and vast purposes for us today, and tomorrow, and all our tomorrows.

Take away thought: Be still and wait. Expect inspiration and direction—Creator God has an endless supply.


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

Where do You Find Inspiration?

 That's the topic for this Saturday's meeting.

 May 6, 10 a.m. - noon

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

Whether you're an experienced writer or want to get started on a writing journey, you will find encouragement and camaraderie at our meetings. You are welcome to visit and see if NJCWG is a fit for you.Last months' Focus Point is featured below. 
Hope to see you Saturday,
Barbara

April's Focus Point
Direction or Distraction?
In March we talked  about maintaining the passion God gives us for His call on our lives. This month let's consider if interruptions are His direction or a distraction that veers us from the path our passion had set us on.
Susan and I attended a writing workshop and on our way home we talked about a writing opportunity that came her way. Aware of the two projects that already fight for her time and attention, the words fell out of my mouth without forethought, “Do think this is God’s direction or a distraction?”
As writers we are creative people. When a writing challenge comes our way, given time, we can generate imaginative ideas, create possible themes and run in directions we’ve not yet explored. This has been demonstrated in the writing exercises at our meetingsnonfiction writers write fiction, fiction writers identify their passion, poets write prose, we try genres and styles we had not considered as we draw from the creative wellspring within us, our God-given gift.
Writing is serious business because it’s our businessthe work we’ve been given to do. Ephesians 5:15-16 reads, “Be very careful, then, how you livenot as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Wise people have discernment; they are focused and determined. They are not distracted but make the most of every opportunity God presents to them, which brings us back to our original question—Is the potential opportunity, challenge, invitation before you God’s direction? Or a distraction?
Take away thought:  Be carefulwatch for direction, resist distraction.



Monday, March 27, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

April 1
10 am to noon

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

Our Focus Point this week is

direction or Distraction?
Graphic compliments of nationalgeographic.com

Saturday's discussion:
Memoir - what is it and what makes it worth reading?

Get the encouragement you need, whether you're an accomplished writer, beginner or somewhere in between.

Hope to see you Saturday,
Barbara

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Practical Side of Passion

The following is the devotional from our meeting on March 4.

Outside of those who write instruction manuals or how-to assembly instructions, I would think that every writer is motivated by passion. I can’t imagine writers giving themselves to the task if there is no passion in it. Passion is greater than enthusiasm. By definition, it is an “intense, driving, or over-mastering feeling or conviction; a strong liking for some activity, object, or concept.” (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary)
Writers may have a passion for justice or encouragement or health or for weaving a good story. My friend's blog was born from her passion for fashion. Maude’s poetry is birthed from a passion for God, family and Israel. Revealing passion in our work, makes it contagious and engages our readers.
Passion is what inspires us and compels us to sit in a chair for hours, putting words to paper. The problem with passion, however, is that it’s heavy with emotion and emotions vacillate. Which brings us to today’s focus, The Practical Side of Passion. How do we maintain passion? I make three suggestions:

  • Passion takes up space, so make room for itin your mind and in your moments. 
This means we will be intentional with what we put in our minds and allow to take up our moments. Isaiah asks, "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare" (Isa. 55:2).
  • Passion fades, so fan it.
Talk to yourself; talk to God; talk to others. Learn; practice; blog. Paul wrote to Timothy, “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" (2 Tim. 1:6-7).
  • Passion subsists on truth, so feed it. 
What we feed grows, so we must feed our passion, not with vacillating feelings, but with sustaining truth. It’s not a matter of getting emotionally pumped, but being deeply balanced. How many times have you run off at the mouth with something that you deeply felt, only to find out you were mistaken. Let’s feed our passion with truth, “…for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NIV). Read this verse in the NLT: “…For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”

Take away thought:  Make room for your passion; fan your passion; feed your passion.

Article developed more fully on my website barbarahigbyhope.com 
Graphic compliments of pintrest.com/stickmancliff

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

March 4

10 am to noon

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

Our Focus Point this week is:

The Practical Side of Passion 




Passion compels us as writers. This Saturday we'll talk about 
stoking our passion and writing from full hearts.

Get the encouragement you need, whether you're an accomplished writer, 
beginner or somewhere in between.

Looking forward to seeing you,
Barbara

February's Focus Point

The Diversity of God
I remember standing in front of the birds on display at the American Museum of Natural History and being overwhelmed by the vastness of God’s creativity. I thought, “If I was given the specifics of an animal that had wings for flying and a beak for eating, and told to create a bird, how many variations could I possibly contrive?” Six? Sixty? The museum exhibits 300 of the 400 species New York City attracts alone. There are almost 10,000 species of birds in the worldtropical birds and arctic birds, fish-eating birds and seed-eating birds, large birds and small birds, drab birds and outrageously colorful birds. The diversity of appearance, habits and habitat is astoundingnot even considering mammals, amphibians and fish. All of this from a wildly imaginative, abundantly creative, generous Creator God, who also made us.  
Having been made in God's image, we not only mirror His creative nature, but are gifted by Him to use our innovative skills for Him. Read what Moses said to the Israelites in Exodus 35:30-33, "See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel … and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship." 
Creativity in craftsmanship also includes crafting words. Chuck Colson wrote this about creativity in language:
The nature of Scripture itself affirms the importance of creativity in language. God did not reveal Himself through a list of essential doctrines or a schematic outline of theology. Instead, He chose to reveal Himself through the writings of a variety of authors over many hundreds of years in just about every type of literature then known to humanity. There are historical narratives, laws, poems and songs, proverbs, prophetic oracles, parables, letters, apocalyptic literature, even genealogies. In producing our own literature, we are following the example of God who gave us a rich literary heritage in His word. (The Image of God and Creativity, colsoncenter.org)
In our writing group, we have often looked at Ephesians 2:10, which calls us God's workmanship who have been created … to do the good works God has prepared for us to do.
My challenge for us today is to step out of the little boxes of time and space where we live. Let's ask the Creator, our Creator, to lead us where we’ve not yet gone and use our skills in new arenas.
Take away thought: Let’s expand our minds to be as broad, diverse and inclusive as our Creator’s.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

February 4

10 am to noon

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


Our discussion will focus on tapping into our 

God-given creativity

Get the encouragement you need, whether you're an accomplished writer, 
beginner or somewhere in between.

Looking forward to seeing familiar faces and new,
Barbara

January's Focus Point:
The Power of a Word
How many of you choose a word for the year? My word for 2017 is clarity. There are reasons far too personal to share in this setting but one area where I want clarity is in my writingnot how I write, that goes without sayingbut in what I write. I feel conflicted by competing desires, good ideas and worthy goals and acknowledge that, as valuable as they may be, having too many possibilities can deter productivity.
Proverbs 4:25-27 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left....”
The phrase I want to focus on is this: “take only ways that are firm.” There are many ways, opportunities that are worthy, but I believe God will position us on a firm footing to accomplish what He has for us at this time. Options and creative ideas abound for each of us—we’re writers, creative by our God-given nature—and I hope we all keep lists with every brilliant idea we have, but we must to fix our gaze, make a level, firm place to stand, and do one thing at a time really well.
Take away thought: The blessing of creativity is a river that requires channeling. We must quiet our hearts and ask, “God, what would you have me do now?” and then do it wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Requested Recipes!

We had a great time at our annual brunch. In addition to great fellowship and goal setting, we enjoyed a delicious array of foods. In response to popular request, here are some of the recipes you asked for:


Sticky Buns - Ann VanHine


1 1/2 loves of frozen bread dough
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 pack of butterscotch pudding mix (COOK & SERVE not instant)
1 stick of butter
walnuts or pecans

Put a layer of walnuts or pecans in 13X 9 baking dish. I do spray pan with PAM. cut dough into 12 pieces and lay on nuts. In a bowl, combine the sugars, pudding mix and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the dough. Cut stick of butter into 12 pieces and place one piece on each piece of dough. Place in oven overnight. In the morning prick the dough with a fork and then bake at 350 for 30 minutes. After done cut around the edges and flip over onto serving plate.  Enjoy!


Salmon Spread - Maude C. Pych
1 14.75 oz. can salmon, red preferred
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. horseradish
2 tbs. lemon juice
1/4 c. parsley, minced
1/2 c, onion, minced
dill, thyme and/or sage, minced (optional)
red bell pepper, minced (optional)
1/2 stalk celery, minced (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix well. Shape like a fish.
Use a slice of pitted ripe olive for fish-eye
Use pimento or sliver of red pepper for mouth
Sprinkle with dried dill, if desired
Decorate platter
Serve with crackers, carrots, celery

Be creative. Vary spices.


Winter Salad - Susan Panzica

Dressing:
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion (or dry minced onion)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces (about 10 cups)
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup cashews (I use pecans or whatever)
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 apple, cubed
1 pear, cubed

In blender container or food processor bowl with metal blade, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Cover; process until blended. With machine running, add oil in slow steady stream, processing until thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds; process a few seconds to mix.

In large serving bowl, combine salad ingredients; toss to mix. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.

Notes:
Swiss cheese can be omitted for non-cheese eaters.
In summer, I substitute strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, mango, etc.
I usually pare the pear, skin can be bitter.

BON APPETIT!!
         
         




Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Reminder - this Saturday!


Wishing you all a Happy New Year! 

At our next meeting on Jan. 7, 2017, we will hold our annual brunch 
(postponed from our usual December so that more people can attend). 

We look forward to breaking bread together as we continue along our writing journeys. 

For the brunch, here are the signups so far. If you aren't on the list and would like to bring something, please just hit reply or email: njcwgroup@gmail.com. If you're new to the group or just not able to bring something, please come anyway! 

Quiche - Leslie
Sticky Buns - Ann
Bagels - Nancy
Salmon Spread - Maude
Fruit Salad - Brian
Winter Salad - Susan
Juice - Jack
Beverages & Paper Goods - Barbara

***
Come prepared to share writing goals for 2017!!
We will continue our focus on story (for both fiction & nonfiction writing),
and if there's interest, we'll talk about the possibility of creating a NJCWG anthology.

***

New Year's Brunch coming up!!



Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

At our next meeting on Jan. 7, 2017, we will hold our annual brunch 
(postponed from our usual December so that more people can attend). 

We look forward to breaking bread together as we continue along our writing journeys. 

For the brunch, here are the signups so far. If you aren't on the list and would like to bring something, please just hit reply or email: njcwgroup@gmail.com. If you're new to the group or just not able to bring something, please come anyway! 

Quiche - Leslie
Sticky Buns - Ann
Bagels - Nancy
Salmon Spread - Maude
Fruit Salad - Brian
Winter Salad - Susan
Juice - Jack
Beverages & Paper Goods - Barbara

***
Come prepared to share writing goals for 2017!!
We will continue our focus on story (for both fiction & nonfiction writing),
and if there's interest, we'll talk about the possibility of creating a NJCWG anthology.

 ***