Writers of Kern Newsletter | January 2023
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In this issue: |
 Vice President's Messagie | This Month's Speaker | Last Month's Meeting | 2023 San Francisco Writers Conference | Submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul | WOK Critique Group Chair  | Mark Your Calendar Sunshine Chair | Webmaster Needed ASAP | From Your Editor | Nuts & Bolts | 

Vice President's Message

    There are rules for the New Year.
    Everyone has them.
    New Year, new me. That’s what they say.
    But what if I like me and I wouldn’t want to be anyone but me?
I want to grow and be a better me. Not the new model car, just more like the old model with a car wash subscription. Just some growth.
    New Year’s resolutions always throw me into an existential crisis every year. I always wonder: “Why am I here?” “What is the meaning of life?” “When I die, will I be remembered?”
    My writer friends, I always go back to my books and everything I have written in the past 10 years. I wonder if those who have read my books will remember me as a good writer.
    I use social media to market and sell my books, and so far it has been a pretty good way to do so. However, so much time in that world can have a negative impact on the psyche. You start to question yourself and what you bring to society. You compare. That’s when it gets bad. Comparing yourself to other writers.
    Am I selling enough books? Am I selling more books than they are?
    It brings me back to social media and how the likes and comments make us feel like this is the only way we can be validated in this world.
    If they “heart” your post or video, they love you!
    Fellow writers, social media outlets can be helpful tools; but you have to keep hold of yourself and who you truly are. You can’t let the “rules” that you can’t be authentic on social media weigh you down and let the negative “trolls” in your comments change what you think about yourself.
    Actress Carrie Ann Moss said, "People tell you the world looks a certain way. Parents tell you how to think. Schools tell you how to think. TV. Religion. And then at a certain point, if you're lucky, you realize you can make up your own mind. Nobody sets the rules but you. You can design your own life." 
    And that is what we must do. Be in charge of our own lives and not get caught up in the rules that social media or society sets. I have decided that instead of resolutions, I am setting goals.
    Albert Einstein said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
    My goals are to release a new book, get better with my finances, lose weight, and continue to learn and grow as a human with compassion and empathy.
    As a writer, I want to feel like I have a purpose. But even if only one person reads my book, I know that I have left a mark on someone. I have made an impact in this world.
    We all need to be ourselves, mix it with compassion for others and always add love, grace and mercy. And if you have to make a New Year’s resolution…let it be that.
    I’ll leave you with the words of Steve Jobs:
"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking."

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This Month's Speaker: 21 January 2023
Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner

Exchanging hurt for hope is Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner’s focus
a message she shares with audiences as a recovered drug addict, stage-four cancer survivor, and former widow. A dynamic teacher and motivating leader, Giesbrecht Turner has endured many changes and challenges, moving her to a deep faith.
Sheryl is an award-winning author of five books. Unraveling the Lie-Knot: Finding Freedom from the Tangles of Discouragement, Deception, and Depression was released in June 2021 and won the 2021 Non-Fiction Christian Market Book Award with Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She served as Focus on the Family's columnist for Pastor's Wives for four years. Hundreds of her columns, magazine and devotional articles have appeared in Focus on The Family Magazine, Pastor Resources, Lead Like Jesus, Just Between Us, Discipleship Journal, CCM, Walk Thru the Bible’s - InDeed and Tapestry publications.
Sheryl has a passion for coming alongside those in crisis or trauma. Sheryl is certified through Talbot Theological Seminary, specializing in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and in Grief, Loss, and Trauma Counseling. ( She has authored and recorded 14 teaching and training videos for BrightCourse, a subscription-based video streaming service for pregnancy care center providers who want to help their clients learn about prenatal care, parenting, relationships, life skills, and more. ( In the USA, BrightCourse serves over 60,000 pregnancy center clients per year and 30,000 views of their videos in one week.
Sheryl also has heart for missions and is avid about reaching out to the poor and needy, locally through the local Rescue Mission and worldwide through various ministry partners. Giesbrecht Turner is a Lead Like Jesus Facilitator  and has been personally involved with equipping hundreds and facilitating the training of thousands of leaders internationally.
The joys of Giesbrecht Turner’s life are her children and fourteen grandchildren. An untimely widow in 2009, she is excited about the new beginning she shares with her recent marriage to Dr. Jim Turner. Sheryl holds a Bachelor of Arts from Biola University, a master’s in ministry and a Doctor of Theology. She lives in California’s central valley where she enjoys running 5K races with her 90-year-old mother.

All writers have 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 into polished prose that can tell a story. In this session, Sheryl will provide questions and writing prompts to encourage the writers to discover their writing voice, or if genre is determined, how they can further hone their writing voice.  

Stay in touch with Sheryl - Receive Sheryl’s weekly blog on her website: or
More About Freedom In Christ Ministries:
Follow Sheryl on Social Media!
Facebook pages: Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner or @SherylGiesbrechtAuthor
Twitter: @SGiesbrecht
Instagram: sherylgiesbrecht
LinkedIn: Sheryl Giesbrecht
Scribd: Sheryl Giesbrecht
Pinterest: SherylGiesbrecht



    Our annual Winter Dinner at Hodel's last month was well attended; the room was festive, and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening! We played a couple games that writers play, like building poems with pre-chosen words and phrases and the first lines game. The winners received Amazon gift cards. We even had an informal open mic, and some authors shared their written words with the group. Attendees also brought wrapped books to exchange with one another. As usual, the buffet had all our favorite delicious foods from which to choose! It was a delightful night out with our fellow writers celebrating the holidays together.


  Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Hotel
Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 16-19th, 2023
Celebration of Craft, Commerce, and Community for Writers
The mission of the San Francisco Writers Conference is to build bridges to better tomorrows for writers connected to the conference by:
  • Giving writers the information and inspiration, they need to:
    • write and sell their books
    • make them successful
    • reach their literary and financial goals
  • Providing a forum for writers, agents, publishers, and writers’ organizations
  • Helping writers build the networks they need by creating a community of writers online and off . . .
Because the California Writers Club’s mission statement mirrors that of the SFWC, in short, ‘Writers Helping Writers,’ we, the CWC, are once again providing a booth as an outreach to many of the same writers who are seeking help, support, and encouragement in their writing career by providing them with information about our Club.

In this regard, this is the tenth year that we have represented the twenty-two branches within our state-wide CWC at our Conference booth. And the most important aspect of our booth are our volunteers. If you would like to volunteer for this year’s booth, contact Carole Bumpus at
Please note that in volunteering at the CWC booth, you may display your books on the table, but you are there to speak to conference attendees about their own writing and the CWC. Our books cannot be sold on-site. Each volunteer will be able to share their experience within the CWC, what they have gained, and be able to talk about the twenty-two branches throughout the state. (We supply guidebooks.) The shifts are for three hours, with one hour set aside to attend a class during the time slot.

Also, for only the third time, the SFWC has offered two members from each of the twenty-two branches free passes – (1) Poetry Summit and (2) Screenwriters Summit – which are all-day programs held in conjunction with the Conference and worth $245 each.  This is a very big gift to our Club and should be regarded as their acknowledgement of who we are and what we represent as CWC and for the conference.

Each branch must forward the names and email addresses of the two chosen winners to me, Carole Bumpus, at to be able to receive the formal ticket. If your branch has not taken care of this gift by January 30th, the winners will lose out on this special benefit. Any questions? Let me know.

The San Francisco Writers Conference 2023 has once again embraced our CWC participation, and we want to thank those of you who have stepped forward to help make this another year of celebrating our fellow writers!

Cordially, Carole Bumpus – Past Chair, NorCal Group – California Writers Club
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The power of positive thinking

Your mind and thoughts are very powerful. Almost anything is possible if you think you can. Staying upbeat and positive doesn't mean you ignore the seriousness of a situation. But expecting things to go well rather than expecting the worst does make a difference. Change is possible if you change your thoughts from negative to positive.

We know that using the power of positive thinking helps you to achieve your goals and lead a happy, purposeful, and productive life. You can dream big, overcome challenges, create the best life possible for yourself, and turn adversity into opportunity

We are looking for true stories and poems written in the first person about how deciding to use positive thinking changed your life. What was the situation that inspired you to think positive? What changes did you make in your attitude — from negative to positive — that turned your life around? How did you train yourself to be a positive thinker?

These inspirational stories will remind readers to focus on hope and show them that each day holds something to be grateful for. Stories can be serious or humorous, or both. Tell us your success story about using the power of positive thinking.

Here are some suggested topics but we know you can think of many more:

  • How a change in attitude has made a difference for you
  • The physical benefits to a positive mindset
  • The mental benefits to a positive mindset
  • Have you used the fake it till you make it strategy?
  • The unexpected benefits of challenges
  • Putting things in perspective
  • Turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts
  • Counting your blessings
  • Using humor to improve your life
  • Silver linings that you have discovered
  • Appreciating the simple pleasures
  • What changes you made to create the best possible life for yourself and for your family
  • Attitudes are contagious — how did yours change someone else?
  • How gratitude helped you achieve your goals
  • How you used the power of forgiveness
  • How you pursued your passion
  • How you found purpose in your life
  • Ways you can actively practice using positive thinking to improve your life
  • Tell us about a role model who showed you how to "think positive"
  • Using forgiveness to put the past in the past and find your way forward
  • Powering through health challenges through positive thinking
  • The best advice/wise words that helped you use positive thinking

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!



• 21 January 2023 | Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner | Find Your Writing Voice
• 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:


We need someone to take over the Webmaster position for Writers of Kern as soon as possible. Please contact Sandy, 
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From Your Editor

Make it a good one,
it's your choice.
Make it a WRITE one,
use your voice!

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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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