Writers of Kern Newsletter | February 2023
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In this issue: |
President's Messagie | This Month's Speaker | Last Month's Speaker | Museful Moments | Welcome New Members | Dan McGuire Blog Challenge | Submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul | WOK Critique Group Chair | 
Mark Your Calendar | Sunshine Chair | Peggy Connelly Scholarship & Robert Hargreaves Awards | From Your Editor | Nuts & Bolts

President's Message

   Salutations from Sandy
Life is full of surprises!  Like, how did I get to be 65 when I only feel…well, 65. 😊 
How is it that I have been involved with Writers of Kern for more than 20 years?
When you find something that you love like writing and people who are passionate about writing – you want to be surrounded by them, to “be” one of them.  And yet, life’s tide ebbs and flows.  Things change.  Life changes. And, sometimes our focus has to change.
Please be in prayer, if you believe in such things like I do, as I consider the coming months and years.  Has my focus changed?  I’m not sure.  Has my passion for writing changed – no, but as I get older and have family and health concerns that are making their presence known, I need to think about where my priorities should be.
I remain as always, your friend and your sister in writing,

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This Month's Speaker:   18 February 2023

The Writers of Kern Welcomes Author Jim Grayson

On Saturday, February 18th, The Writers of Kern will be joined by guest speaker, Jim Grayson.
Jim’s background is like a treasure map of adventure that includes airplanes, helicopters, diving, sailing, and law enforcement, with a focus on calming volatile situations.

Jim is a member of the High Desert Branch of the California Writers Club. His writing crosses many genres such as short stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul, poetry, and magazine articles; and his most recent accomplishment is novel writing. You can find his book, Trailer Vamp – Love Bites on Amazon and Kindle. Jim will be speaking on the topic, “Storytelling – Fitting the Pieces Together.” 

Writers of Kern monthly meetings take place on the third Saturday of each month at Hodel’s Country Dining, 5917 Knudsen Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308. The meeting includes a full breakfast buffet and an omelet station. The cost for members is $20 and $25 for guests. The meeting starts at 9:15 with breakfast served 30 minutes prior. You may register on the WOK website, Monthly Meetings + Writing Workshops ( or you may pay at the door.

Sandy Moffett – Writers of Kern President


Last Month's Speaker:  21 January 2023

Meeting Recap ~ Sandy Moffett

Our January meeting was full of energy and interaction thanks to our effervescent speaker, Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner. Though, not born here, Sheryl considers herself a Bakersfieldian, my made-up word.  She is a local author, speaker, and friend to many.  Through her topic, “Find Your Writing Voice,” she gave us much information and hands-on practice.
Every writer has a natural voice, with their own way of telling a story. Unique as the individual writer, the natural voice has its own rhythm, pace, sense of detail, and anecdote. The cadence of voice can be discovered in fiction and non-fiction and is essential to reveal the story’s content and form. It takes time, patience, and work to refine it into polished prose that can tell a story. In this session, Sheryl provided questions and writing prompts, which encouraged us to discover and further hone our writing voice.


Museful Moments - January 21, 2023: Write a thank you note to your feet for some of the places they have taken you.

"Thank you, feet, for the journeys across the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. For the frigid streams you crossed and the brooks you jumped over. Thank you for wandering through meadows of tall grass and wildflowers with sounds of buzzing bees. Thank you, feet, for the safe travel through out Israel and the history lessons learned. Thank you for soft sandy beaches of Hawaii and rough volcanic slopes of Mt. Kilauea. You have been good to me and may you find peace in the soothing warm water bath."
Gay Chambers

Ode to My Feet.

"Today you stopped in the middle of the bike path and refused to go on. With no other option, I sat down on the river bank, taking off my shoes, and rubbed and cajoled you to move on. Instead, though, you made me look at the world around me. The lizard creeping out of the broken concrete. The roadrunner peeping over the bush. The egret in the distance. Thank you for the opportunity to appreciate the world I usually bypass."

Carla Stanley

"Thank you for being my sweet feet,
For staying clean
And being lean;
For all the places that we've been;
Oh, the people that we meet
On our travels
As life unravels
Everything that is seen."

Shelley J. Evans


Last meeting, two new members joined us:

Jay Willingham - genre, Action Adventure

Robert Tafoya - genre, Essay

  Dan McGuire Blog Challenge 

Dan McGuire Blog Challenge
Starting: February 13th - Ending: May 15th

How it works:

Contact Jennette Green with your email and URL address and let her know that you are accepting the challenge - You will receive a list of participants and URLs via email.

Write 26 blog or website posts in 13 weeks.

Post the blogs to your site.

Read and comment on two other blogs each week. 

This is a non-supervised event, so we will trust if you say you did, you did. 😊

That’s it!  Those who complete the challenge will receive a certificate of completion (suitable for framing) at the WOK Honors event in May.

If you have any questions, please contact Sandy Moffett: or

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Callout for stories and poems about Angels

Guardian angels, divine guides... whatever you call them, usually there is no earthly explanation. A higher power clearly at work, mysterious, protective, and positive things happening with no logical explanation, cause astonishment and wonder. How did they occur? Who or what made them happen?

Are angels always around us? Are there angels at work all the time or just when needed? How did your angel manifest to you? Do you have a guardian angel who keeps coming back or did your angel appear only once in a particular situation? Was it a kind stranger who came and went quickly, never to be seen again? Was it an amazing coincidence? How did your angel protect you or guide you? Whatever the explanation, these events seem to be evidence of a higher power, giving us hope for a better future.

We are looking for true personal stories about how an angel has touched your life — stories of true wonder and awe from people who have directly encountered or received help from angels. Miraculous, personal experience that will make our readers say "wow" or give them chills. If you have had a personal experience with an angel, please submit your story.

We are looking for stories from writers of all faiths, including writers who do not follow a particular religion. This book is by and for everyone, but please note that we are not looking for stories about people who are "angels" because they do nice things; also please do not submit eulogies about loved ones who have died and are now "angels."

Here are some possible topics, and we know you can think of many more:

  • Angel sightings and visitations — just in time!
  • Divine protection and intervention
  • Messages from an angel
  • Receiving support from angels or spirits
  • Angel intervention
  • Receiving guidance or lessons from an angel
  • Unexplained healing and recovery
  • Money appearing just when it's needed
  • Being saved from death
  • Voices that spoke to you and helped you
  • Love that doesn't die
  • Answered prayers
  • Dreams and premonitions that involved angels

A few guidelines for you and some general information:

All stories and poems need to be true — we do not publish fiction. Stories should be no longer than 1,200 words. Please write in the first person about something that happened to you or someone close to you. Every part of your story must be true. No "composite characters." But yes, you can use a pen name, if necessary, to protect yourself or someone else.

If your story was already published in a past Chicken Soup for the Soul book, please do not submit it. We will not republish it. If you recently submitted a story to this topic, no need to resubmit it. We have it in our system and our editors will read and consider it. If you submitted a story to one of our previous Chicken Soup for the Soul book titles and we did not publish it, please submit it to us again if you think it will fit in this title.

Please remember, we no longer publish "as told to" stories. Write your story or poem 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 and the approximate exposure it received in the "Comments" section of the submission form.

We include stories in our books from as diverse a group of writers as possible, including the LGBTQ community and people of all ethnicities, nationalities, and religions.

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 $250 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.


The deadline for story and poem submissions is FEBRUARY 28, 2023

Please do not reply to this email address. You will NOT receive a response. For any further questions or correspondence, contact


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WOK Critique Group News

New Critique Groups Forming

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a support group to further develop your writing goals?  

Joining a Critique Group is a great way to take your writing up a notch!  Members meet once or twice monthly at convenient times, on Zoom or in-person.  Members share what projects they are working on and get positive feedback and guidance from one another.  

This might really help you to write more since there is a sense of accountability.  You will also learn more about how and where to publish your works.  Side benefit - you make life-long friends!

WOK is currently forming groups for Mystery Writers, Fantasy/SciFi Writers, Children’s Writers, Romance Writers and Screenwriters.  

If you are interested in joining one of these exciting and helpful groups, email Carla Joy at and she will get you connected. Don’t put your writing on hold - join a Critique Group today!



• 18 February 2023 | Jim Grayson | Storytelling: Fitting the Pieces Together
• 18 March 2023 | Spring Conference Kern Room | Brendan Constantine, Carla Martin, and Rebecca Langston George
• 15 April 2023 | Jenny Margotta | Writing Believable Dialogue
• 20 May 2023 | WOK Honors (Members Only): No Speaker (5:00 Room Available – $13.46 pre-tax Buffet) Dan McGuire Blog Challenge, Robert Hargreaves Award, Peggy Connelly Scholarship
• 17 June 2023 |
• 15 July 2023 |
• 19 August 2023 |
• 16 September 2023 |
• 21 October 2023 |
• 18 November 2023 |
• 16 December 2023 | Member Holiday Dinner No speaker


From Your Sunshine Chair

The Sunshine Chair sends holiday, get-well, birthday (if we have your birth month), sympathy, and other supportive cards to the Writers of Kern members. Every card is filled with nurturing, caring thoughts from all the other members of our club, sending rays of peace and comfort to uplift our fellow members' spirits. How do we know when those special occasions, illnesses, or hardships arise? We rely on you, our WOK members, to alert the Sunshine Chair by emailing her the information:


Writers of Kern is accepting applications March 20th through April 8th for the Peggy Connelly grant for children’s writers residing in Kern County. The grant is given in memory of WOK’s long-time member, Peg Connelly, who wrote for children. One winner will receive a $500 grant which can be used for materials, education, promotion, publication, or expenses related to a children’s writing project. Children’s writing includes fiction, nonfiction, and verse ranging from board book, picture book, chapter book, middle grade novel, and young adult novel.
To apply, send the first five pages of your children’s work-in-progress (or the full text of a picture book) to along with a cover letter answering the following questions:
1. What do you consider your strengths as a children’s writer?
2. What obstacles do you face as a writer?
3. What goals have you set for yourself as a writer?
4. If you are awarded the grant, how will you use the money to further your children’s writing and achieve these goals? Be specific: include details and prices.
5. Please indicate in your cover letter whether you have ever received the Peg Connelly scholarship in the past.

Submissions must be correctly formatted, double-spaced, with12-point font. Only works in progress that have not been previously published will be considered. Do not send illustrations. Format as a manuscript; do not format as book pages or spreads.
Membership in Writers of Kern is not a requirement, but applicants must reside in Kern County. Direct any questions to Rebecca Langston-George at the email above. Please do not wait until the last day to ask questions. You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application. Late submissions will not be accepted or recognized. Winners will be recognized at the WOK Honors Event in May. The judges reserve the right to not grant an award if they deem it appropriate due to insufficient entries. 
The Robert Hargreaves Award is available to anyone who has been traditionally published i the last year. No self- nor independent print, but an actual contract with a publishing house. Recipient(s) will receive a plaque and their name(s) will be added to the large plaque. It is not a contest.
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From Your Editor

Please be encouraged to submit your written words for publication, to contests, any opportunities possible!  You just never know... and as we all have heard, you can't win unless you play

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Nuts and Bolts

New members are always welcome, whether you are a published writer or not! Writers of Kern energetically assists all members who aspire to become published. 

The Write Way
The Writers of Kern
PO Box 22335
Bakersfield CA 93390-2335
Shelley J. Evans, Editor

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Writers of Kern · P.O. Box 22335 · Bakersfield, Ca 93309 · USA

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