Supporting Sarnia-Lambton’s Literary Scene

“Create community wherever you find yourself.” – Audrey Stringer*

Sarnia-Lambton’s literary community continues to evolve.

Between 2010 and 2018, this southwestern Ontario region has lost seven key and prolific members of its literary community, a few others have moved to other areas, several more have vanished behind closed doors to write, read, or just mourn their loss of friends, family, pets, health, or job.

So many fond memories of Sarnia and area writers sharing their work at The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts.

However, despite the changes, several local writers continue to write and share their words with the public. Some are already well known; others are just making a name for themselves. Some are traditionally published while others have self-published their manuscripts. Over the years, I’ve featured several Sarnia-Lambton writers on my blog.

Today, I’m sharing a compilation of new and familiar writers who are in the literary spotlight this autumn. I hope you will help to celebrate their accomplishments with a loud standing ovation. (My apologies if I’ve missed anyone. Please send me a note in the comment’s section and I will make a note to feature them in an upcoming blog.)

Audrey Stringer’s Fourth Book has Arrived at The Book Keeper

111 Butterfly Moments: Tips to Embrace and Live Life with Joy.

According to the front cover flap, this inspirational book encourages the reader to treat yourself to one butterfly moment at a time, to kick-start your day. It is written by a local bereavement counsellor and motivational speaker Andrey Stringer.

Audrey Stringer books arrives at The Book Keeper November 11, 2019

Published by A String of Hope, Inc., a bereavement counselling service established by Audrey Stringer. Photo courtesy: The Book Keeper

What a new discovery for me! I wasn’t familiar with Andrey Stringer and her work but I found three of her previously published books at the library. Her first book Get Over It! Surviving Grief To Live Again was published by A String of Hope Inc. in 2005. Stringer wrote the book after taking bereavement courses to deal with the death of three family members. She was inspired to help others.

Scaling the Mountain of Grief: Creating a New Normal Through Loss and Healing was launched in 2011 and Buddy’s Life Lessons: My paw print on grief and loss came out in 2015.

Previous Books by Audrey Stringer

Stringer has written three other inspirational books. I found these in the local library.

Because I was in between books, I managed to read her first book Get Over It! in just a few days. In my Goodreads review, I wrote:

Wow! I was impressed by the professional quality of this book: from the way it was designed and written to its relevance in helping readers to handle their grief. Audrey Stringer knows her audience and as the person behind A String of Hope Inc., a grief counselling practice in Sarnia-Lambton, she draws from her training and personal experience to present stories, journal entries, side-bars, tips, strategies and resource material in an accessible manner. I even loved the size of the book as it could easily fit in a purse or a jacket pocket for quick reference.

In fact, all her books are published in this same size. I look forward to reading her other three books including the one released earlier this month. Additional information about Stringer appears on her website.

Local Historical Fiction Writer Bob McCarthy Switches to Children’s Fiction for His Latest Book

 Burrow of Guernsey (Quinn Riley Press 2019)

Bob McCarthy has done it again. Not one to sit still for too long, McCarthy continues to challenge himself with new projects. Known for his local historical fiction books, he is presenting a children’s novel for the first time.

Quoting from the back cover:

Did you ever wonder where the rabbits in your backyard came from?

While Emily visits her grandparents for two weeks she hears bedtime stories each evening about backyard bunnies such as Pi-co, Multi Brown, the Amory and other rabbit friends as well as two seagulls named Pete and Repeat. Story illustrations by students of Sarnia Christian School Cover art by Sandra Rice.

Burrow of Guernsey launch - books - Nov 15, 2019

Introducing Burrow of Guernsey, a children’s fiction story about rabbits written by prolific historical fiction writer Bob McCarthy.

McCarthy recently launched his book at the Sarnia Christian School on October 28, followed by readings at the Point Edward Library on November 9 and at The Book Keeper on November 15.

His next reading will be held this Saturday, November 23 from 2:30 to 3 p.m. at the Mallroad Library, 7 – 1362 Lambton Mall Road in Sarnia.

Burrow of Guernsey launch - author Bob McCarthy - Nov 15, 2019

Bob McCarthy chats about his latest book during a recent Book Keeper event.

McCarthy is a prolific local writer and promoter. He has published 14 other books most of them via Quinn Riley Press. An earlier blog feature on McCarthy and one of his earlier books can be found here. I look forward to catching up with this and some of his early work.

Lambton County Author Gloria Pearson-Vasey to read November 22 and 29

Bloodline Feather (Curious Tales by Creekside Book 3) (Bublish 2019)

“A blend of history with fantasy…Within one page, her storytelling hooked me.” That’s how I described Gloria Pearson-Vasey’s novel Black Spring Abbey when I first read it over four years ago. At the time, the novel was considered her second book in her trilogy. Earlier this autumn, she launched Bloodline Feather, the third book in the set and I’m eager to see how this story continues.

This newest book (by the author of close of 10 suspense-filled novels) deals with the secrets of a travelling author whose real identity is kept hidden from her readers.

Gloria Pearson-Vasey author talk November 22 in Sarnia and November 29 in Petrolia Photo courtesy Lambton County Library

Bloodline Feather is the third book in Pearson-Vasey’s triology. Photo courtesy: Lambton County Library.

For those interested in meeting the author in person, Pearson-Vasey has already been touring the county with her book. However, final Bloodline Feather readings will be held this Friday, November 22 starting at 1 p.m. at the Sarnia Library, 124 Christina Street South and on November 29 at 2 p.m. at the Petrolia Library,  4200 Petrolia Line. Admission to both events is free.

According to her website, Pearson-Vasey is a storyteller, an author of suspense veiled in mystery and enigma. She weaves contemporary issues into her novels, writing stories which have authenticity along with hopeful endings.

A member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, Pearson-Vasey’s background includes nursing, psychology, music, journalism and theology. Inspired by her autistic son’s unique sensory experiences, her writing reflects the hidden depths of things.

An interview with Pearson-Vasey and her earlier work Black Springs Abbey appears here. Additional information can also be found on her website. Another author worth following!


Safe travels to British Columbia for Sarnia Author Sharon Berg

A whirlwind of activity for this author of Naming the Shadows (Porcupine’s Quill, 2019)! Earlier this autumn, Sharon Berg toured the local province and included a reading in Alvinston, Ontario where the cover artist Liana Russwurm resides. A Q and A with Berg appears here.

Alvinston launch - Oct 22, 2019 - Photo 7

Sharon Berg at the Alvinston Public Library in Alvinston, Ontario.

Now she’s in British Columbia with her first reading in Burnaby behind her. The most up-to-date listing of her British Columbia tour schedule can be found on her Naming the Shadows Facebook page.


For the most up-to-date schedule of Sharon Berg’s British Columbia tour schedule please check her Naming the Shadows Facebook page.

Expect more from this author in the new year.

Prolific Sarnia writers James Deahl and Norma West Linder to read in Oakville, November 24

Out-of-town readings by James Deahl and Norma West Linder continue! Both of these well-known Canadian writers have been featured numerous times on this blog and sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of all their readings. Their next stop will be at the Oakville Literary Café, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Joshua Creak Heritage Art Centre, 1086 Burnhamthorpe Road East in Oakville.

Additional information about Deahl and his latest poetry book Travelling the Lost Highway (Guernica Editions, 2019) plus Linder and her latest young adult fictional novel Perk’s First Love: a 1984 Drum Corps Summer (Hidden Brook Press, 2018) appears in an earlier blog post.

november 24, 2019 in oakville

Sarnia writers James Deahl and Norma West Linder will be reading in Oakville on November 24, 2019. Photo courtesy of The Oakville Literary Café.


Two Journalists Raised in Forest, Ontario Launch New Books

So nice to read about younger writers making a difference!

Former Forest resident Robyn Doolittle, a Globe and Mail investigative journalist locally launched her latest book Had It Coming: What’s Fair in the Age of #MeToo? (Penguin Canada 2019) in early October. According to promotional material for the book  Doolittle’s Unfounded series, which investigated how police services handle sexual assault cases, was one of the most viewed and read stories in the Globe’s modern history. This book continues where the series left off.

For those who like non-fiction, check out these new books by Globe and Mail investigative journalist Robyn Doolittle and Toronto Star journalist Katie Daubs. Both writers were former Forest, Ontario residents.

The award-winning Doolittle is also known for her reporting on Mayor Rob Ford and her number-one bestselling book Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story (Penguin Canada 2014).

Another former Forest resident Katie Daubs launched her book The Missing Millionaire: The True Story of Ambrose Small and the City Obsessed With Finding Him (McClelland Stewart, 2019). Her launch was held September 14 at the Kineto Theatre in Forest. Daubs is a reporter with the Toronto Star and currently lives in Toronto. Her historical true crime book is about the mysterious disappearance of Toronto theatre tycoon Ambrose Small.

Monica Royal and Margaret Maheu Mixes Words with Art

Soul Art by Monica Royal and Margaret Maheu

Soul Art was launched November 1 at The Book Keeper in Sarnia.

Two more creative locals to investigate are Monica Royal and Margaret Maheu. On Friday, November 1 at The Book Keeper, their book Soul Art was launched. The promotional literature states the book is a collaboration of artwork with reflective poems, prose and short stories created by two artists and writers: Monica, Multi-Media Intuitive Arts, and Margaret, Nature Artist. Over the weekend, they also had an art show and sale in downtown Sarnia.

I’m curious. I like the concept of mixing art and words so I’m adding their book to my ‘to read’ list.



Here’s another shout out for Old Broad Road (Devil’s Party Press, 2020) by Phyllis Humby.  I’ve already mentioned this first highly anticipated book by First Monday columnist Humby in a previous blog post. However, watch for a Q & A with the author in the New Year.

Burrow of Guernsey launch - columnist Phylllis Humby with author Bob McCarthy - Nov 15, 2019

First Monday columnist Phyllis Humby was spotted at Bob McCarthy’s recent book launch at The Book Keeper.


Lynn Brogden, board chair for the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts is seeking the names and e-mail addresses of local writers for future correspondence from the Lawrence House.

Did you know that Anne Stoesser is the current literary representative and that Lois Nantais and Kathryn Shailer are Literary Arts members on the board? Did you know that the Lawrence House has a directory that lists the names of several local writers.  Did you know that authors are sometimes featured during First Friday events? Did you know that books by local authors are also on display and available for sale in their gift shop?  Did you know that every second and third Monday evening, writers may share their work during their Open Stage event?  Did you know that every first Wednesday of the month, Anne Stoesser leads an event called The Play’s the Thing where anyone from of the community may read a role from the month’s featured play.

If you would like to receive correspondence from the Lawrence House, please contact Lynn Brogden by leaving a message to her attention using the Lawrence House e-mail address  found on their website. 

Please indicate that you are a local author.


As the holiday season draws near, think back to all the writers who have made a difference in your life.

The next time you see them, give them all a huge hug! And even if you don’t know them–buy their books, borrow or request their books from the library, write reviews of their novels or poetry collections, share their posts on social media, come to their readings, or just smile and say “thank you for being a writer, thank you for sharing your work, thank you for being part of my community”.

If they are a writer still waiting for their first break into the writing field, give them two hugs and plenty of encouragement along the way.

Special thank you again to local author Audrey Stringer and her ‘sprinkles of hope’.

111 Butterfly Moments by Audrey Stringer

*Epigraph quote at the beginning of this blog post is from “Chapter Three – Building a Supportive Network” from the book GET OVER IT: Surviving Grief to Live Again (A String of Hope Inc. 2005) by Audrey Stringer (p. 48) Used with permission from the author Copyright © 2005 Audrey Stringer



2 thoughts on “Supporting Sarnia-Lambton’s Literary Scene

  1. Bob Boulton

    Debbie, this is an incredibly good entry. I am honoured to know some of the authors you have featured here; and I am, no kidding, honoured to know you.

    1. d78hill Post author

      Thank you for your kind words Bob! We all have so much to learn from each other. Your laughter and sense of humour will take you far. Already you are having success with your submissions. Keep writing and sharing!


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