book launch

Launch party held for Amherstburg resident’s “Parallels of Life” book



By Ron Giofu


Greg Crain’s life in hockey has led to him writing a new book and that book was officially launched last Friday night.

Crain, joined by members of family, friends and colleagues from the hockey world, launched the book at a reception at the Libro Centre. The book, entitled “Parallels of Life – The Game of Hockey” is now available through and with the Canadian price being $16.28.

“This little adventure has been two-and-a-half years in the making,” said Crain. “It’s been a crazy, crazy adventure. It’s finally been completed.”

Greg Crain officially launched his new book “Parallels of Life - The Game of Hockey” Dec. 1 at the Libro Centre.

Crain’s background includes not only his days as a player but also saw him work his way up the coaching ranks. He also has scouted for the OHL’s Barrie Colts, serves as the vice president of travel with the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) and just recently re-entered the Jr. C ranks as the general manager of the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals.

The book also sees him sharing stories about his experiences and how they have shaped young athletes into becoming better people.

“The books are written for Linden and his brother Nolan,” Crain said, in reference to his two sons. “They were the inspiration for writing it.”

People who have known Crain for over 30 years came out to support him at the book launch, something Crain described as “awesome” and “a great feeling.”

“It’s great to see everyone supporting me,” he said. “The support from the hockey community is unbelievable.”

Recently published author Greg Crain (left) shares a fist bump with son Linden during a book launch party at the Libro Centre last Friday night.

Crain said he has been trying to promote the book through social media as well and an e-mail blast with the Amazon links went out at 7 p.m. Friday to those who signed up and follow Crain through his website

“It’s quite a thing to see an actual, physical book,” he said. “It’s quite a feeling.”

“Parallels of Life – The Game of Hockey” is 294 pages and was published through the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

The link to the site at is found here.

Local author launches latest mystery novel



By Ron Giofu


“Don’t let them kill me.”

John Schlarbaum was told that by a patient at Windsor Regional Hospital during his job as a patient transporter and Schlarbaum, also the author of several mystery novels incorporated that into the opening chapter of his latest book. That book – “Abandoned” – centres on the character Jennifer Malone and was launched last Thursday night at the Gibson Gallery.

“I just wanted to do something after working on the book for two-and-a-quarter years,” said Schlarbaum, of the launch. “I wanted to launch it in Amherstburg.”

Schlarbaum has worked part-time as a patient transporter at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Metropolitan Campus for three years and attributes his sometimes brief contact with people from all walks of life, as well as the staff, for making him a better writer.

“I could never have written ‘Abandoned’ without my experience at the hospital. I wouldn’t have known the procedures required of transporters, nurses, E.R., O.R. and I.C.U. staff, as well as housekeeping personnel duties,” he said. “Even the physical layout of Met Hospital assisted me in visualizing where the action would take place. My goal is to get the reader involved with the plot, its characters and the environment in a way that feels real and believable.”

When the patient uttered the line “don’t let them kill me,” Schlarbaum knew he had the opening chapter to his latest novel.

“To lend a high level of authenticity in my characters and their actions as the plot unfolds, I always incorporate my job experiences into my novels,” Schlarbaum stated. ”In previous mysteries, my 20-plus year career as a private investigator, as well as working in the television industry, helped my readers understand fields they may not have been acquainted with in their lives. I suppose I really do follow the edict: write what you know.”

Amherstburg author John Schlarbaum stands with the cover photo of his new book “Abandoned” during his book launch Oct. 26 at the Gibson Gallery.

Schlarbaum has written three mysteries centering on the Steve Cassidy character and another thriller entitled “Lasting Impressions” but decided to bring back the Malone character after a six-year absence. The last book with the Jennifer Malone character was “A Memorable Murder.”

“Abandoned” was the subject of a recent online funding campaign through Kickstarter, with it surpassing the $3,000 goal. It was 101 per cent funded, Schlarbaum reported, and that allowed people to pre-order the book and allow him to recoup some costs and the same time.

“For me as an author, it is very gratifying that people are pre-ordering the book before it is actually available to sell to the public,” he said.

People from Amherstburg, LaSalle and Windsor came to the book launch and Schlarbaum noted the pre-orders came in from as far as Hawaii.

The photo on the book’s cover also has an interesting story behind it, as Schlarbaum found it in a random online search and, after some digging, found the photographer’s Flickr page. The photographer – Miguel Ángel Avi García – lives in Spain and allowed him to use it for the cover.

Schlarbaum added that the book will be available through his website – – as well as area bookstores. He was selling it for $20 last Thursday and plans on appearing at craft shows around Windsor-Essex County over the next several months, including the Holiday Gift Shop at the Gibson Gallery Nov. 23-Dec. 10.

The new book also contains 16 discussion questions at the back of it that book clubs can use when talking about Schlarbaum’s latest novel.

Local poet, writer pens first book and plans book launch event



By Ron Giofu


Writing has been a passion for Linda Bertrand most of her life.

Now, the Amherstburg resident is compiling her poetry, prose and prayers into a new book and is also planning an official launch for her book.

Bertrand is self-publishing “On Wings of Faith, Hope and Love” and is planning a book launch Sept. 18 from 1-3:30 p.m. in the community room at the Libro Centre. She said she has been working on the book for about one year but it is a compilation of works she has done over her 42 years of writing. There are some pieces that are paired with scriptures, she added.

The 144-page book contains about 123 pieces of her work and is her first book. Bertrand said she has worked on two fundraising calendars – one for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in 2006 and the other for Christ Church in 2008 – and both did well.

“The combination of the two of them raised over $10,000,” said Bertrand.

Bertrand said she is inspired by many things, including her faith, people in her life, nature, humour, every day life experiences and exploring the meaning of life.

Linda Bertrand will have a book launch for “On Wings of Faith, Hope and Love” Sept. 18 in the community room at the Libro Centre.

Linda Bertrand will have a book launch for “On Wings of Faith, Hope and Love” Sept. 18 in the community room at the Libro Centre.

“Mostly I awaken with a need to write in the early morning hours,” she explained.

There have been occasions when she has been given a subject or title to write about, with examples being the dedication ceremonies for the “Keep History Alive” bricks in Navy Yard Park and the heron sculpture dedication, also in Navy Yard Park. She joked she “writes from perspiration” rather than inspiration for those types of works.

Writing became a passion for Bertrand in 1974 when her grandmother died and she wrote a tribute for her funeral. The tribute was published and, along with a return to her faith after a five-year absence, sparked her writing career. She urges people to follow their dreams no matter what.

“Follow your dreams, be true to your dreams, even if they are just glimpses over many years,” she said. “They are there for a reason – to help you to grow into fulfilling your gifts, your purpose and your destiny.”

Bertrand added that she believes one’s true self “is found in the centre of his or her dreams and in the fulfillment of those dreams.”

The book came to fruition with the help of editors, typists, a publishing consultant and friends, including one that said she would cover the publishing costs.

“I’m excited,” said Bertrand. “It’s a dream come true.”

The book launch will feature her reading some of her work and also have a book signing where people can purchase the book for $20. The launch is geared as an adults-only event.