WORKSHOP: Reading Like a Writer | NOVEMBER 17, 2019

Ligonier Valley Writers to Discuss Reading Like a Writer

“Imagine a chef who hates to eat, an artist who’s never been to a gallery. It’s not credible — neither is a writer who doesn’t read.”

Noteworthy--The Journal Blog


We writers are lucky. No matter where we live, and no matter how old we are or how much money we have, we have access to the greatest writing teachers who have ever lived. We can choose Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, Louise Erdrich, or Ursula Le Guin as our mentors. All we have to do is pick up a book to learn the secrets of the master wordsmiths.

On Sunday, November 17, Jim Busch will lead participants in reading like writers. This class will show writers how to maximize the lessons learned from their reading. It will address how to analyze and learn from the techniques used by published authors. Participants will learn how to use reading to improve their own writing and will come away with a deeper appreciation of their favorite authors.

Bring a favorite book, story, or passage that you admire. This enjoyable workshop will make you not only a better writer but a more thoughtful reader.

The program runs from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at St. Michael’s of the Valley Church in Rector. It is free to LVW members and $5 for nonmembers. St. Michael’s is at 2535 Route 381 in Rector.

Jim Busch is recently retired from the newspaper industry. He has a BA in English, concentrating on medieval and renaissance literature, from the University of Pittsburgh. He’s written columns for the Tribune Review, Post-Gazette, Valley News Dispatch, and Fox Chapel Herald. Jim has given talks all around the country on subjects from creativity to sales skills. He has published a number of articles on Western Pennsylvania people and events. He lives in White Oak with his wife and proofreader, Glenda. Jim is also the president of LVW.

Community Picnic & Readings | SEPTEMBER 15, 2019

Ligonier Valley Writers to Hold Community Picnic and Readings

Be Part of the Entertainment

Would you like to share your writing with a supportive audience? Or be in the audience to hear talented local writers read from their work? For an entertaining afternoon of fun, food, and fiction (not to mention nonfiction and poetry), come to Ligonier Valley Writers' annual community picnic.

It's on Sunday, September 15, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at St. Michael’s of the Valley Episcopal Church in Rector. The event is free for LVW members and just $5 for nonmembers. The public is cordially invited. If you like to talk, read, and eat, you'll enjoy the LVW picnic.

Bring a covered dish or dessert if you like, though it’s not required. Join us for good food and good conversation in the scenic Laurel Highlands. Both LVW members and nonmembers are welcome to read from their own writing after the meal. You’ll also have a chance to win a raffle prize.

Copies of the 2019 edition of The Loyalhanna Review, one of the longest-running literary magazines in the area, will be available free of charge. The magazine features top-quality essays, short stories, and poems, as well as photos and fine art. Among the offerings this year are Janice McLaughlin's slapstick yet lyrical account of crossing a stream ("River Dance") and Sarah Russell's poem about fishing with her grandfather ("Opening Day, Age 12"). As always, the Review's breathtaking full-color art includes many locally shot photos. The cover photo of a tulip magnolia tree in bloom, by perennial fan favorite Jan Sady, is worthy of framing.

St. Michael's is located at 2535 Route 381 in Rector, PA 15677 (Ligonier Township): (724) 238-9411. Ligonier Valley Writers is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that has been serving writers and readers throughout western Pennsylvania since 1986.

Loyalhanna Review Publication Party | JULY 13, 2019

2loyalhanna poster - 2019 - old  version

Ligonier Valley Writers to Hold Loyalhanna Review Publication Party at SAMA July 13

One of the longest-running literary magazines in the Laurel Highlands is celebrating the publication of its 2019 edition, and the public is invited. Ligonier Valley Writers has been publishing The Loyalhanna Review continuously since 1991. LVW will host a publication party on Saturday, July 13, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Ligonier (Route 711 South and One Boucher Lane). If you like good writing, art, food, and conversation, you'll have a good time.
    Join us to enjoy the museum's exhibits, wine and hors d’oeuvres, and entertainment by Loyalhanna Review authors reading from their work. See this year’s cover and other beautiful artwork suitable for hanging. From a laugh-out-loud essay about chicken tractors to a poem about the music of engines, you'll be entertained and inspired. You’ll have an opportunity to talk with the authors and artists whose work is featured in the magazine.
    The suggested donation is $10 at the door, but no one will be turned away. Each guest will receive a copy of the new Loyalhanna Review, hot off the presses and crammed full of writing and art that will knock your socks off, most of it created by local talent. Help us celebrate the literary life of the Laurel Highlands.
    Ligonier Valley Writers is an all-volunteer nonprofit group that has been bringing workshops, talks, and publication opportunities to writers and readers throughout southwestern Pennsylvania for more than thirty years. LVW offers events throughout the year, including the flash fiction contest and workshops on the craft of writing.

We send heartfelt thanks to those LVW members and friends who donated money toward printing the Loyalhanna Review this year. Your kindness exceeded all expectations. We will indeed

be able to afford to send 1,500 copies of the magazine out into the world, thanks to your generosity.

F.J. Hartland | MAY 5, 2019

The workshop will focus on creating interesting characters. We will discuss how to differentiate characters, creating individual voices, and how character can build conflict.

"Not only do your characters need to be different

from one another, they need to be memorable,"

F.J. explains. "Think of Antigone, Stanley Kowalski, Willy Loman--all memorable characters."

F.J. brings enormous expertise to bear. He has made

a record-setting sixteen appearances in the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, winning Best Play four times. In 2018 his play Rust was produced by Things Unseen Theatre in Altoona. Last summer his short play

Santa Secret was one of eight plays selected for the Weathervane Playhouse's 8x10 Festival in Akron. Currently F.J. is an assistant professor of theatre at Saint Francis University. He holds a BA in English

from Westminster College and an MFA in playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University. He is also a professional actor and an award-winning director.

Open to writers in all genres, including those who have never written a play before. It's a perfect opportunity

to explore the form--and learn about creating living, breathing characters--in a supportive atmosphere.

F.J. Hartland.jpg


Sunday, May 5, from 3-5 p.m. at St. Michael’s of the Valley Church

(2533 PA-381, Rector, PA 15677)

The workshop is free to LVW members and $5 to nonmembers.

MEET THE WRITERS: Phantom Detectives at Risk | MARCH 30 & APRIL 28, 2019

Meet the Authors of the Mystery Anthology Phantom Detectives at Risk

The authors of the stories in Phantom Detectives at Risk will be reading from their anthology at two events.

• Saturday, March 30, 2019, 1:00-4:00 p.m. at Craftique Collections (770 East Pittsburgh St. in Greensburg).

• Sunday, April 28, 2019, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at the Sunday Salon at Mt. Pleasant Library (120 S. Church St., Mt. Pleasant).

The Phantom Detectives are at it again, in even more danger. Lieutenant Manelli is off teaching at the Police Academy, and members of the Sleuths and Serpents writing group have gotten involved in hot cases. With Manelli not there to ride herd on the members, they have to approach the danger with the same creativity they show in writing and solving cold cases. Especially if they are to survive.

This is the fourth book in a mystery anthology series published by Greensburg Writers' Group as a fundraiser for Ligonier Valley Writers. It contains short stories by local authors Thomas Beck, Marge Burke, Linda Ciletti, Stacy DiPasquale, Dan Ekis, Judith Gallagher, Gretchen Landis, Barb Miller, Mary Ann Mogus, and Ronald J. Shafer, plus a poem by Judith Sturges. The cover art is by Dan Ekis and the cover design by Dan Ekis and Linda Ciletti.

Each story features characters from a fictional writers’ group, the Sleuths and Serpents, who solve unsolvable cases with help from the unlikeliest corners of the paranormal. Each writer is inspired by a different ghostly sidekick, who abets them in their quest for solutions (though somehow there is still a lot of legwork involved).

These stories run the gamut from noir to whimsical. You'll be dying to find out how a young woman and her muse, André the Giant, save a bodybuilder from murder and how a hefty cat named Mjolnir rescues his timid owner from a drug dealer.

The 280-page Phantom Detectives at Risk will be for sale for $15. All donations go toward LVW's programs and publications, especially its annual literary magazine, The Loyalhanna Review, which is distributed free throughout western Pennsylvania. Books by LVW and GWG members are also available for purchase at the Book Nook at Craftique.

WORKSHOP: Family Writing | FEBRUARY 23, 2019

Ligonier Valley Writers & Ligonier Valley Library to Host Program on Family Writing

Ligonier Valley Writers presents a joint program with Ligonier Valley Library at the library (120 E. Main St., on the northwest corner of the Diamond) on Saturday, February 23, 2019,from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The talk is free to the public. To register, go to, or call the library (724-238-6451), or stop in at the library. Please email with any questions.

The event will start with Heather Oates, children's librarian at Ligonier Valley Library, leading the group in a fun hands-on activity to help jump-start their creative writing ideas. She'll take the Maker Movement approach to inspire kids.

"We'll have all kinds of stuff like buttons, clothespins, little wooden people, and feathers for kids to use to tell their stories," Heather says. "Letting them share their story visually first makes it interactive and fun. It also takes the pressure off because they can mess up, move the pieces, and fiddle with things until they're happy with what they've made,"

She'll model the process of creating a story with a quick story of her own to provide some guidance. Parents can record their child's storytelling if they like.

Next Jim Busch, president of Ligonier Valley Writers, will offer tips on how to inspire your family members to write together. He'll also talk about the importance of sharing your family's history.

In the third portion of the program local talents Kylie Manning and Randy Kopka, a daughter and father writing and illustrating duo, will join us. They have published a book together. Kylie will read her story, display Randy's illustrations, and discuss how writing a book with her father was a bonding experience.

Finally there will be an opportunity for kids to share their writing with the group. There will also be plenty of time for questions.

This program is slanted toward parents or grandparents and children ages four and up, but adults who write for children or who are simply interested in building family bonds are also welcome on their own.