Sign Up For Advanced Memoir Classes

Need help telling your own life’s story by structuring work you’ve already written, Linda Wisniewski’s Advanced class in Memoir Writing is designed to fit your needs.

Register here or on the PSBI.org website where courses can be found under the Education tab at the top of the home page. See Linda’s biography at the end of this blog with a link to her website. Continue reading “Sign Up For Advanced Memoir Classes”

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Pearl Buck Writers Guild Meets and Ponders

Six Guild members discussed their contributions at the April 2019 Writers Guild meeting in Pearl Buck House International Center, Bucks County, PA.

Using a story of love-remembered and the power-of-hope, John McCabe examined vivid characters and their dimensions of belief and fear of death through a sensitive story. Guild members suggested clearer name attribution to speakers in dialogue exchanges.

Melissa Triol’s latest mystery thriller revealed that her passionate, calculating heroine Eglantine was no match for her sister Prudence in the aftermath of a climactic murder scene. Plotting her cover-up, less-than-accurately named Prudence rivals any modern-day schemer in a promising page-turner. Continue reading “Pearl Buck Writers Guild Meets and Ponders”

Writers Guild March Recap, New April Date

Even though the Writers Guild met on St. Patrick’s Day this month, there were 14 of us including four new participants. After introductions, which revealed quite a diverse set of writing genres and life experiences, we began sharing excerpts and discussing them.

First Joe Vitella set a scene with two skilled and deadly men in a tense verbal exchange. The undercurrent of pent-up potential violence, as they carefully test each other out, was palpable. Great buildup of suspense. Commenters agreed a little more dialogue might balance the descriptive passages.

The metaphors that David Werrett uses in his story “Prison of Guilt” serve to expressively and visually describe the mental construct of escaping from the shame of childhood trauma. These nightly dream journeys in can be solace for a wounded psyche. David’s use of language was applauded.

Discussion digressed over substitutes for semi-colons. Anne Kaler recommended the two separate sentence technique, or the use of “em” dashes. Linda Donaldson shared the history of the terminology behind small or “en” dashes and wider “em” dashes. The names derive from the width of an “n” or “m” in metal handset type.

Melissa Triol brought a new chapter to her novel that introduced her protagonist Eglantine in her youth, living at home with her father and cross older sister. The quiet dinner with an old soldier friend of her father brings with it revelations about this friend’s complicated life and issues of race, illegitimacy and inheritance.  Anne praised Melissa’s use of symbolism.

A passage using “she” several times referring to two separate women needed some name clarification. This is a common writing problem and Bob McCrillis suggested reading one’s work aloud or using a text to voice program.

A Guild member, Kat Cerruti was accompanied by her daughter Shannon Cerruti, a local high school student.  Shannon brought a poem about a lovely, yet thorny rosebush.  The narrator loves the beauty of the bush which brings great joy in times of sadness, anger or confusion.  The bush tempts her to embrace it and even its sharpness brings comfort.

Jane Bleam, whose memoir excerpts always entertain, brought a story from her childhood school days. Many questioned exactly where she attended school and encouraged Jane to include those facts. Jane’s adventures brought smiles of recognition from some of us contemporaries who fondly remember our own school days.

Finally, Jennifer Klepsch brought an opening chapter that introduces a meeting between her new novel’s two main characters. It was full of choice details but didn’t have that “hook” of drama to get us right into the book. This beginning might just need to be “flashed back” to, giving more urgency to the book’s first chapter.

We explored stories with lots of variety. Our authors have many new ideas to pursue. We missed you!

We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on Sunday, April 14th. (Note: We are changing the date to avoid Easter Sunday.) The Guild will meet at 1pm in the Red Barn on the grounds of Green Hills Farm, 420 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA 18944.

Remember to bring 15 copies of any excerpt up to 4 pages you’d like to share. Also, add your email address on the copies so members can further share comments via email later.

Writers Guild Begins 2019 Season

The Pearl S. Buck Writers Guild invites authors and poets to our 2019 season on the lovely grounds of Green Hills Farm, Pearl’s historic Bucks County residence, on Sunday, March 17th.

The Guild meets 1 to 3pm on the third Sunday monthly, March through October. Writers of fiction, non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry and short stories are encouraged to join us to share and critique their writing.

Members may bring 15 copies of their excerpts for comments. This provides a forum to gain support and feedback from other writers and editors.

The first 2019 meeting is Sunday, March 17th at the Cultural Center [Red Barn building], 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA 18944. Season membership is $50 for eight meetings. Single meetings are $10.

Click here to register.

Writing Center Announces Evening Classes

The Writing Center is pleased to offer two evening courses, ideal for writers who are unavailable to take day classes. Both courses feature three classes held Tuesday through Thursday from 6:30 to 8:00pm in the Cultural Center (Red Barn) at Green Hills Farm, 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA 18944.

The instructor for both is the celebrated writer, speaker and women’s advocate, Pam Varkony. Read a brief biography at the end of this post, and visit her website to learn more about her.

Be Your Own Writing Carpenter:
Building Your Audience and Your Platform
May 28, 29, and 30, 2019
(recommended for beginning writers)
$75 for three classes     Click here to register

Course Description:
You are a writer; you are a crafter of beautiful words you want to send in to the universe. First you have to get published. In today’s world, most agents and publishers will insist you have a platform before they consider representing you. Even if you plan to self-publish, people have to know about you to buy your work.

In this three day course we will guide you through the steps you need to take to start building that platform in advance of contacting an agent or self-publishing your book.

The framework of building a successful author’s platform begins with a website and a blog. In today’s crowded online world, if you don’t have an online presence, you don’t exist. Next, don’t overlook the obvious: Write! Write! Write! Publish! Publish! Publish! There are thousands of outlets for guest blog posts, journals, both in print and online, and e-zines covering every topic under the sun.

At the core of all author platforms is your ability to build a following…a presence on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram can make or break a book launch.

This class will provide you with action items and resources designed to build your reputation and name recognition.

How to get readers to listen to your story is Pam Varkony’s strength. Her leadership has inspired people all over the world toward better understanding of their lives and the lives of others. Let her show you how to construct a better way to get your ideas over, using her organizational skills and management concepts.

The Truth Makes a Good Story:
Writing Literary Journalism
June 11, 12, and 13, 2019
(recommended for all writers)
$75 for three classes   Click here to register

Course Description:
Truth is a powerful storyline when writing to motivate others to care about some aspect of the human condition. Non-fiction writing is about good story-telling; story-telling that reflects the stark drama, spontaneous humor, or the often hidden minutiae of real life.

During this three-day course we will discuss the importance of doing thorough research and of being a good interviewer. We will talk about the writing style through which you weave a golden thread of understated hyperbole designed to catch the reader in your net.

In this class you will have the chance to put your experience and passions to paper, read it aloud, and have your work critiqued by your fellow writers.

Whether you are interested in editorials, commentaries, persuasive essays, grant writing, or creative non-fiction/memoir, learn to tell a “can’t put it down – can’t turn it down” story. Enlighten the reader to the world around them; persuade them to care.

Pam Varkony will show you how to make your personal stories into memorable prose. Let her show you how to construct a way to get your ideas over, using her organizational skills management and superior writing techniques.


Pamela Varkony is a non-fiction writer and a former columnist for Tribune Publishing. Her work appears in newspapers, magazines and in PBS and NPR on-air commentaries. Her poetry has been published in the New York Times.

Recognized by the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association with an “Excellence in Journalism” award, Pamela often uses her communication skills to advocate for women’s rights and empowerment both at home and abroad. She has twice traveled to Afghanistan on a fact-finding mission and as an embedded journalist.

Pamela was named the 2017 Pearl S. Buck International Woman of Influence for her humanitarian work. She is also a recipient of the Business Council for Peace, VERA Award for her work in Afghanistan, the Chamber of Commerce Athena Award for business achievement; the American Association of University Women’s “Gateway Award” for leadership in women’s issues; a “Woman of Distinction” award from the Girl Scouts, and the Nike Award for championing women’s causes presented to her by Business & Professional Women.

Pamela was born and raised in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where she and her husband, Zsolt, maintain a summer home, along with two very spoiled cats.

Read more about Pam on her website .

Writing Center Offers Two Memoir Classes

Need help telling your own life’s story? Whether you’re just beginning the process or need help structuring work you’ve already written, Linda Wisniewski’s Beginners or Advanced classes in Memoir Writing are designed to fit your needs.

Linda’s courses in the past have built up such demand, she is offering two courses this year. Register here or on the PSBI.org website where courses can be found under the Education tab at the top of the home page. See Linda’s biography at the end of this blog with a link to her website.

Memoir Writing Class for Beginners – Six weeks
Wednesdays: April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1 and May 8 2019
1-3pm Cultural Center, 2nd Floor
$150 fee for 6 classes

Course Description:
Have you been thinking about writing your memoir but don’t know where to start?

Join us for a six-week class that will cover all the basics of modern memoir writing and answer all your questions. Learn to write about people, place, work, loss and more.

Each week’s informative lecture and writing practice with gentle, constructive feedback will give you a solid foundation to put your memories on the page for your family, for publication, or for your own good health.

Advanced Memoir Writing Class –
1st Wednesday of the month for 6 months
Wednesdays: June 5, July 3, August 7,
September 4, October 2, and November 6
1-3pm Cultural Center, 2nd floor
$150 fee for 6 classes

Course Description:
If you have some of your memoirs on paper and are ready to learn how to organize them, expand what is significant, and deepen their meaning, this is the class for you.

Within the monthly format of lecture, discussion, in-class writing and constructive feedback, we will cover theme, character arc, dialogue, and more.

Plus, you will be enrolled in our private online Google group, where you can submit your own writing, respond to your classmates’ work, and discuss class readings provided by the instructor.


Linda C. Wisniewski is a former librarian who shares an empty nest in Doylestown with her retired scientist husband. Linda teaches memoir workshops and speaks on the healing power of writing throughout the Philadelphia area. Her work focuses on memoir and personal essays and has been published in literary magazines and anthologies. Linda’s memoir, Off Kilter: A Woman’s Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother and Her Polish Heritage was published by Pearlsong Press. Her unpublished novel based on the life of a 19th century ancestor was a finalist for the 2015 Eludia Award. Her website is https://lindawis.com/.

On the Injustice of Untimely Death

By Anne K. Kaler

So I sez to God, sez I, “God, you got it wrong.” No one younger than me is allowed to die because it seems to me to be against the natural order of things.

Like what happened to that old friend of mine, Ann (without an “e”) while I am always Anne (with an “e”). I knew she had been ill for some time, but I had to read about her death in the newspaper!  How unfair is that! A complete surprise over my morning tea and an unfair start to a snowy morning!  I didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye after knowing her for all these years. I couldn’t even contribute to her obituary although I hope to attend her funeral.

So this will have to suffice as a reminder of what happens when some younger person dies. Continue reading “On the Injustice of Untimely Death”