Tag Archives: Short Story

A Strong Collection – Sharon Berg’s Naming the Shadows – Stories

 “Don’t shake your head, shadow, I’m serious.” -Sharon Berg*

Canadian author/publisher/poet Sharon Berg* prefaces her short story collection Naming the Shadows (Porcupine’s Quill 2019) with a quote by C. G. Jung: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

Not everyone yearns to peer or dig deep into the darkness but for those readers who appreciate great literature and take the time to analyze the content in more detail, they shall be rewarded.


Naming the Shadows: Stories (Porcupine’s Quill 2019) by Sharon Berg ISBN 9780889844292 (softcover) was officially launched September 29, 2019 at The Book Keeper in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

Berg never flinches from tough subjects nor sugar-coats her work. She pushes boundaries and draws attention to such inequalities and injustices as betrayal and infidelity, bullying, manipulation, torture and assault, rape and sexual deviance, the exploitation of Midgets in a freak show, street living and abuse, theft and consequences, love lost and grief, adoption and single parenting, ageism, plus the heaviness of dark secrets and confessions. These are the shadows that Berg clearly names and wants to bring to light.

Continue reading


Introducing Naming the Shadows by Sharon Berg

We were breaking strict rules, heading towards the high, crumbling hillside that was the northern face of this valley called Cedar Vale – Sharon Berg*

 What happens next for Elke, the young protagonist in Sharon Berg’s fictional tale “Trespass” is a heart-wrenching account of how quickly innocence can slip into a dangerous and dark abyss. The tension builds and as a reader, I am left scarred similar to my feelings after reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Will the horrors between bullies and victims never end?

However with shadows comes light and for this Sarnia writer her ability to shock (and move readers into action) is offset by her caring and strong interest in portraying the human experience in its painful as well as its tender, healing moments.

For almost a year, Facebook followers have received teasers about Berg’s upcoming short fiction collection Naming the Shadows to be published by the established trade publisher The Porcupine’s Quill based out of Erin in Wellington County. She’s proudly shared the cover depicting a painting by Alvinston artist Liana Russwurm and has created on-line posters for her upcoming book tour. “Trespass” is part of this new book which includes 9 short stories and two novelettes.

September 29, 2019 in Sarnia

Launching September 29 at The Book Keeper in Sarnia: Naming the Shadows (Porcupine’s Quill 2019) is the debut short fiction collection by Sarnia writer Sharon Berg. Special guests include Berg, artist Liana Russwurm, and poet/musician Tom Gannon Hamilton who will offer background music as she reads from the book.

Now the real work will begin!

Continue reading

Anthology Review – Our Plan to Save the World

“I was thinkin’ ‘bout going into town on Saturday. Thinking of asking that fat girl from church to go to the pictures with me. Cindy was her name.” – Phyllis Humby*

The first time I heard “Delusional Date”, the ‘coming of age’ story by Lambton County writer Phyllis Humby, I cheered. Here was a master storyteller in the making. The snappy dialogue and nuances of her characters Rafe and Cindy–plus Humby’s unique narrative style–clung to me like gum on the bottom of my shoe! Seriously, no ‘sour grape’ taste or feeling intended but the simile suited what I perceived was a cocky bubble-blowing protagonist. I applauded the way this author refused to sugar-coat her male character’s politically incorrect words but exposed all the gritty dirt and sticky elements pertinent to the plot.

P11 - Phyllis Humby as 'Cindy' - Eden Mills Sept 15, 2013

Phyllis Humby reads “Delusional Date” on the Fringe Stage of the 2013 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival.

This award-winning story also impressed the judges from the 2013 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. They invited Humby to share her work with other emerging authors on the Fringe Stage. A video of her reading appears here.

Continue reading

Ahoy! Introducing Lorna Pominville, the Cruise Ship Nurse/Author

On board!

On board!

“He’s not breathing….”     Yes, I was a cruise ship nurse, the envy of all my friends at home who were doing the same old – same old. They envisioned me lying by the pool all day hobnobbing with the rich and famous, occasionally tossing a seasickness tablet to a passenger, visiting exotic ports of call and, of course, eating all that fabulous food. I tried to explain that it was a job. I had to work, often long hours and sometimes was unable to leave the ship for weeks. -Lorna Pominville*

Imagine…lost luggage…the scratchy itch…the scent of pescado…the taste of eel…the alarm of Alpha! Alpha! Alpha! As a cruise ship nurse, Lorna Pominville not only had a unique behind-the-scenes perspective of the tourism industry but she loved to inject humour into her storytelling.

Lorna Pominville launched her first collection of short stories February 2, 2012 at the former Honey and Locust Café and Book Store in Sarnia.

Lorna Pominville launched her first collection of short stories February 2, 2012 at the former Honey and Locust Café and Book Store in Sarnia.

Eventually, her world-wide adventures transformed into written travel articles for an on-line magazine and in 2011 she published a 276-page book titled ALPHA! ALPHA! ALPHA! Tales of a Cruise Ship Nurse. The collection included 30 humorous and insightful stories which still appeal to current armchair and experienced travelers.

Today, Pominville is retired from nursing, lives in Sarnia where she volunteers for the Heart & Stroke Foundation, attends writing groups and continues her writing.

Last week, I asked her to share her thoughts on her writing process as well as comment on her cruise ship stories. Below are her responses:

Describe your book in a short paragraph. Why did you write it?

ALPHA! ALPHA! ALPHA! Tales of a Cruise Ship Nurse includes 30 stories for readers to enjoy!

ALPHA! ALPHA! ALPHA! Tales of a Cruise Ship Nurse includes 30 stories for readers to enjoy!

While I was working on cruise ships there was always something new and interesting happening, both on board and shore side. I would describe these in letters to my friends and family, as well as when I was home on vacation. People started telling me that I should write a book because I had such great stories to tell. At first I thought, Yeah, right, but then the idea caught hold after I started writing travel articles for an old school friend who published an on-line magazine.

How does your work differ from others?

For one thing, the stories are all true. I’ve used real first names and have included a section of photos. I also wrote positive things about fellow crew. The positive incidents outnumbered the negative tenfold, hence the reason I stayed with the job for over ten years. The stories about the job are educational as well, giving the reader a realistic idea of what to expect in the role of cruise ship nurse. It’s not like Love Boat.

Why do you write the way you do? How does your writing process work?

I write short stories because I can’t seem to keep the story going long enough to become a novel – which I would love to be able to do. As a nurse, all our charting had to be concise and to the point so perhaps it’s a habit. Although I must confess, I am impatient and want to get the work done!

I have no particular process. I just write when I’m in the mood. I write non-fiction mostly because it is so much easier to write something you know about. It’s easy to flesh out or embellish it a bit but fiction, which I love by the way, takes a lot more work I find. Research needs to be done to make sure what you write is plausible, etc.

As a self-published writer, what do you feel are the pros and cons of self-publishing?

When you self-publish you can get your work out quickly. There are a lot of computer programs that allow authors to set up the format themselves for printing and then it’s just off to a printer. Even if you can’t do this yourself it is fairly simple to find someone who can help fairly inexpensively.

Author Lorna Pominville

Author Lorna Pominville

Many of the so-called “Vanity Presses” still get your work out fairly quickly. However, it usually costs a considerable amount of money for one of the packages they offer. None of the well-known publishing companies take unsolicited manuscripts and it is very difficult to find an agent to take you on as an unknown. It could take years to get your manuscript to the publisher and another couple before you hear anything back.  However, a reputable publishing company does give legitimacy to your writing and will often help with publicity and promotion which you have to do entirely by yourself when you self-publish.

What are you working on now?

At present I am writing children’s stories and a bit of poetry. I did a series of “talking animals” for toddlers and some others for a little older age group. I have submitted several to magazines and contests but no success in getting them published as yet. Unfortunately I am not an illustrator. The toddler stories lend themselves to be picture books but I don’t have the capability to do illustrations and a good one is expensive. I wouldn’t mind paying if I was assured that the books would be published. I have had several of my poems published in the Halcyon and Twisted Endings magazines but have really not done much else with them.

What medical advice or other advice would you give someone going on a cruise today?

Please, please keep you medications in your carry-on. Do NOT put them in your checked luggage. Also, leave them in their original packaging or have a detailed list with name of drug, strength, dosage and when and why you are to take it. Also carry a medical history and who to call in a medical emergency (include telephone number). Remember that the medical staff may come from a country where these medicines have a different name, colour, format, etc.

Thanks Lorna for the interview. Wishing you much success on your future projects.

Shore side!

Off shore!

Watch this blog for additional Profiles.

*from the book ALPHA! ALPHA! ALPHA! Tales of a Cruise Ship Nurse Joheromach Press, 2011) Reprinted with the author’s permission: Copyright ©2011 Lorna Pominville.  Limited copies are still available for purchase at The Book Keeper, an indie bookstore in Sarnia, Ontario.


“It is Easy to Read Short Stories” or Is It?

Ask Toronto writer Carol Malyon and the narrator of one of her published stories.



Last Saturday during Sarnia’s Bluewater Readings Series, Malyon pulled an empty chair from the audience, sat down, got comfortable and joked about reading from her children’s picture book. She made the adults laugh and relax. As a novelist, poet, short story and children’s picture book writer Malyon has often shared her work on stage and with others. She knows how to hold an audience’s attention and she did.

“It is easy to read short stories,” she said reading the first line of “Pencils” a whimsical yet heart-wrenching story from her book Lovers & Other Strangers (The Porcupine’s Quill). “There are lots of them around. Some of them could be true; they could have happened already or be happening right now.”

In her story, the narrator touched on the act of strangers reading stories by others strangers. “You don’t know the author” she read.

          So how do writers feel about sharing their work?

Afterwards in a private dinner conversation, Malyon explained it isn’t easy for authors to find locations to read short fiction. “Poets are lucky. Most of the reading series and open mics in Toronto and other large centres tend to focus on poetry. Whenever, I have a chance to read my short stories, I grab it.”

Celebrating Out-of-Town and Local Talent

Celebrating Out-of-Town and Local Talent

Sarnia’s Bluewater Reading Series mixes both poetry and fiction as well as celebrates both local and out-of-town talent. Malyon was one of four writers spotlighted in May.

Continue reading