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Pagoda Writers Circle

Encouragement and Inspiration

Heather Thomas


April 27, 2024 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA


Heather H. Thomas on Power of Story . . . Power of a Word


If fiction writers are driven by the power of story, poets are driven by the power of a word. “A word opens a door,” wrote the poet H.D. A door to the place “where our living inheritance is stored . . . . buried under the accumulated rubble of prescribed thinking, of inevitable social pruning and trimming of emotion and imagination.” In that place we discover that a poem is not like anything else. “It is the very lining of the inner life,” as poet C.D. Wright wrote. In this workshop we may spiral into language, make a word sculpture or word bank, play with sound, color, or the naming of parts. We may find resemblances among strangers. We will discuss the ways in which writing a poem may strengthen your work in prose fiction. Considering that “style is rhythm,” as the 20th century prose stylist Virginia Woolf said, may be one discovery.

Heather H. Thomas is the author of Vortex Street (FutureCycle Press, 2018) and eight other poetry books, including two bilingual collections. Her work won honors in the 2022 Joy Harjo Prize, the 2014 Rita Dove Prize, from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Academy of American Poets, and as a National Poetry Series finalist. Recent poems are published in Barrow Street; New Verse News; Pedestal Magazine; Persimmon Tree; The Wallace Stevens Journal; and the anthology Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate for Social Justice (Michigan State U Press). New work is forthcoming in Quartet Journal. Heather’s poems are translated into six languages, including Arabic, and widely anthologized, most recently in Featured Poets 2023 (Moonstone Press). Also published as H.T. Harrison, Heather has read her poems nationally and internationally in countries including Argentina, Russia, Israel, and Egypt. An emerita professor at Kutztown University, where she taught creative writing, poetry, and literature for 25 years, she also taught at Cedar Crest College. Heather served as Berks County Poet Laureate, 2008-2010. She began her career as a journalist, working 13 years as a reporter and editor for the Reading Eagle before pursuing her doctorate in English from Temple University. She lives along the Schuylkill River in Reading, Pennsylvania, with her cat, Lilibet. Her website is

Christina Scornavacchi


May 18, 2024 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA


Christina Scornavacchi on Accessing the Wisdom of Your Inner Child to Calm the Noise and Release Your Creative Shadows


Inspiration and intention drive our writing process. Sometimes, we get in our own way, blocking creativity. With a little compassion for ourselves we can better ignite passion for our writing and creative projects. Tina will share how her books were inspired by her work over the years with very young children, special needs youth, troubled adolescents and adults--all traversing growing pains. She found that the methods for restoring calm and reawakening the mind/heart connection can work across all ages and opens a gateway to creative energy. You can use these methods to calm and clear your mind, allow your muse to reconnect when life gets in the way.

Christina "Tina" Scornavacchi is an advanced addictions counselor and an ordained minister through the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. Tina has worked at Caron Foundation since 2002, first as a behavioral health technician and then as a life skills counselor. After attending seminary for two years she moved into her current role as a spiritual counselor and behavior technician. Prior to working at Caron, Tina was a Montessori teacher. During this time she created an infant/toddler program for the school. She has written two books for children, Star Kisses for You and Sun Kisses for You, which offer hope and inspiration for children of all ages and faith traditions. The books are used at Caron in the Satell Family Children and Teens Program.

Tina is a lifelong Berks County native, raising two daughters, Noelle and Rachael, with husband, Tom. Currently residing in Robesonia, she enjoys her 3 grandchildren, devotes time to Common Ground Community and actively supports the LGBTQ community.

Trudy E. Moore


June 8, 2024 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA


Trudy E. Moore on Getting the Creative Juices Flowing!


This workshop will provide incentives for potential writers to work inside and outside the box. To write with and without definite purpose.

Trudy has a Master's Degree in English, and was an English teacher for 32 years and Departrment Chair for 16 of those years. Her writing experiences were mostly in professional journals and magazines. However, she taught many students how to write more effectively and taught creative writing seminars throughout her career. The idea was to write the "Great American Novel" when she retired, but she moved to Berks County only to become enamored with the art world , specifically painting and photography. However, even at her advanced age, Trudy still thinks of writing a novel, but probably not the "great one."

Family-wise,I am one of two people born and raised in the US. My background is European, and education of prime importance. i had a long career in teaching, but also found time to become an avid sailor and cross-country skier, with much time spent in the Caribbean and upstate New York. Many years were spent in the Adirondack wilderness learning about wildlife and building houses and still finding time to be a caretaker for 30 + years and to raise a wonderful daughter. I have a strong belief in staying active...until you can't.

Nancy A. Hughes


July 20, 2024 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA


Nancy A. Hughes on Mystery Writer Shares Shady Secrets


It's a mystery, so if you want to know what she will talk about, you'll have to attend! Secrets have their price, so expect to share your writing secrets, as well.

Nancy A. Hughes, a Penn State communications graduate, followed her dream from business writing to a life of crime—fiction that is. She has published seven suspense novels since 2016—The Dying Hour and its sequel, The Innocent Hour; and Trust Series: A Matter of Trust, Redeeming Trust, Vanished, and Buried Trust; and By Rook or By Crook in 2024. Nancy is a Reading Hospital and Lebanon VA volunteer, and a devoted shade gardener. Nibbling deer and bunnies are just as distracting as big-city blaring horns. She shares her “big green cathedral” with her husband in Spring Township. Nancy is a member of MWA, ITW, SinC, and Penn Writers.


August 10, 2024 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA

(we have two speakers this day)

Carol Quaintance

Carol Quaintance on Telling the Stories Behind the Stories


Carol will share her Writing tips as a Newspaper Correspondent, opening the people's hearts to write what is hidden there. Let a former Writing Teacher at RACC reveal her writing techniques to make your stories come alive!
Also, do we inherit memories in our DNA? History peeks out where we least expect it!

Carol Quaintance is a professional multimedia journalist, writing for Digital First Media as a correspondent for Pennsylvania's Philadelphia suburbs and the Tri County Area which includes Berks, Chester, and Lancaster counties. Her work appeared online and in print in The Tri County Record, The Mercury, the Daily Local, The Reading Eagle and other sister papers. Carol has a long published career as a writer and advertising Account Executive.
A graduate of Alvernia University, Reading PA, she has a BA in Multimedia Communications with a minor in Psychology and Social Studies. She studied theology and culture both at Alvernia and courses she took at Harvard's Behavioral Medicine Institute with Herbert Benson MD in Healing and Spirituality and Behavioral Medicine. She is a former Writing Instructor at RACC.
She co-founded the Society for Chronic Pain Management with esteemed local physician David George MD at the Reading Hospital, working with a board of directors of physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, a lawyer, and a banker running support groups, seminars, and a local TV show the Wellness Connection.

Look up her Reading Eagle December, 2020, article about Carol's book and her interview by Lisa Mitchell:

C. Ivan Stoltzfus


C. Ivan Stoltzfus on Title of Workshop


Ivan has a calling and mission to serve Across America for Wounded Heroes, an organization he created along with Johnabilt, a vintage John Deere tractor with a Peterbilt Cab. Three trips across the USA from the Atlantic to Pacific, the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rushmore, the cotton fields of the South, and cattle country of Fort Worth Texas led him to appear on Fox and Friends and in newspapers, TV, and radio shows nationwide.

C. Ivan Stoltzfus is a former Amish pacifist born in Morgantown, PA. He owned several farms, is an Auctioneer, and Real Estate Broker working in PA and FL. He has a home in Sarasota, Florida where he spends his winters.

Visit Ivan's Facebook page, where he chronicled his most recent (3rd) road journey Across America for Wounded Heroes: