Vaughan Writers’ Series


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Panel from left to right: Franca Pelaccia, Rivka Ringelstein, Moe Vyas, Maria Samurin, and Anthony De Sa.

The Vaughan Writers’ Club and Bathurst Clark Resource Library welcomed Anthony De Sa, author of Barnacle Love and Kicking the Sky, to its authors’ series. Barnacle Love, De Sa’s first book, is a collection of linked short stories about growing up Portuguese and those he knew in his youth.  De Sa shared a number of humorous stories, primarily about his relationship and experiences with his grandmother. Above all else, De Sa advises writing from a place that is true. He credits his success to his unique Portuguese voice and stories of three generations of his family, all of whom have experienced the feeling of trying to belong. He says the people in his stories and the stories themselves have changed since they happened, allowing his writing to transcend the gap between memoir and fiction. Growing up, he wrote to create worlds he could control because he was unable to control the events of the real world around him.

De Sa, an English teacher and teacher-librarian, never expected to write a book, but that’s just the way it worked out for him. As for his writing process, De Sa shared a collage-like plan of characters in his novel with the audience. He says he’s always writing in his head and the plan he shared changed since he created it. When he breaks from the plan and begins jotting things down he becomes obsessed, he admits, but it doesn’t work for him to write every day because he’s busy engaging in the world around him. To finish, he confirmed what most of us writers already know, that it’s one of the most glorious things to see your book on a shelf in the bookstore and speak to other authors about their writing.

Moe Vyas was the first local author to speak about the dos and don’ts of self-publishing. According to Vyas, money is not the way to get published. He summarized his self-publishing journey telling us that his nightmare began when he signed on with an American publishing house in the business of promising nothing to the authors but selling them everything. His book was first published with errors and then republished to correct them. The book and the tears were all his. Vyas concluded by saying that he recently signed with EMSA Publishing, a local publisher, that did everything for him at no cost save for a share of the revenue.

Maria Samurin talked about how to publish an anthology which she did with her writing group, the Scarborough Scribblers, twice. She was a librarian at Toronto Public Library at the time. Inspired by the Maydams of Mayhem, she and her group set out to write an anthology about libraries. They set a crazy unrealistic deadline, but of course, the writers weren’t able to make it. She suggests it is much better to have flexible deadlines and mini-deadlines for content, and copyediting where every writer reads every story. Teamwork is key as is trust. The hard part was putting a cover to the manuscript and formatting. Attention had to be paid to details as far as headers, footers, title pages, etc., were concerned.  She modelled her manuscript after existing formatted books, getting contributors to sign off on proof copies. When they were done, they celebrated and then it was time to begin the year-long task all over again for the next anthology.


Franca Pelaccia talked about self-editing for the independent author which concerns more than just spelling and grammar. If you’re going to indie publish, she suggests you take the time to do it the “right” way so your books don’t sound like first drafts. One way to do this is to give it to beta readers and listen to their reactions, and/or find critique partner(s). Look for constructive feedback, which is not the same as criticism. In her experience, she has learned you can sometimes get what you need by entering contests, reading up on the craft of writing, joining a writing group, and/or arranging for a manuscript evaluation to get an external opinion.


Rivka Ringlestein spoke about courage. She experienced moments of courage living in Israel, as a mother, career woman, and wife, not knowing from one day to the next if her husband will return home. She spoke of her most courageous moment, when her husband was in the ICU, hooked up to machines, knowing the time was upon her that she would have to say goodbye. Letting him go was the most courageous moment she has ever had.

A question and answer session followed with the authors, moderated by Franca.


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Franca moderating panel. From left to right: Franca Pelaccia, Rivka Ringlestein, Moe Vyas, Maria Samurin, and Anthony De Sa.

Thank you to all authors who participated. A special than you to Anthony De Sa who took the time out of his busy schedule to speak to us about his books, his writing, and his writing process.


Vaughan Public Libraries Writers’ Series

Anthony De Sa flyerAspiring writers and book lovers are welcome to join and hear the wonderful stories behind our authors’ latest works.

When: June 24, 2017

Time: 1:30 – 4 pm

Where: Bathurst Clark Resource Library

Address: 900 Clark Ave. W. , Thornhill, Ontario


1:30 – Author of adult literature, Anthony De Sa, talks about his experience in the publishing world.

2:30 – Meet Vaughan Writers’ Club members Maria Samurin, Moe Vyas, Franca Pelaccia, and Rivka Ringelstein as they share behind-the-scenes stories of a writer’s life.

3:00 – Panel discussion – Anthony De Sa and local authors answer your questions.

3:30 – Mix and mingle and door prize announcements.

For more details, see Writers’ Series Poster.


Vaughan Writers’ Series

Check out the event on the Snapd Vaughan East website!

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The Vaughan Writers’ Series kicked off on Saturday, April 22, 2017 with a bang. Noted children’s author Richard Scrimger spoke about how to write great stories and dropped a few spoilers concerning some of his novels. Richard’s workshop was followed by talks from five Vaughan Writers’ Club  members, a question and answer session and panel discussion, and presentation from The Canadian Author’s Association.

group photoRichard Scrimger

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Children’s author Richard Scrimger

Richard demonstrated (with volunteers from the audience) how the three basic elements of storytelling–character, conflict, and plot–work in the story-crafting process. Having a likable protagonist is not enough to craft a memorable story. Your protagonist must get into trouble. He suggested that a character who will help your protagonist out of trouble is important, but the story will be better if your “helper” only serves to get your character into further trouble, rather than solve the problem for him/her. He explained his inspiration to write Lucky Jonah and Ink Me, and how the first was plot-driven (boy finds a magical camera), and the second was character-driven (based on a character Richard knew and identified with). Richard’s presentation was humorous, entertaining, and fascinating. It incredible to hear how a professionally published author got his start and continues to thrive in the business.

Elise Abram


Elise and her book.

Entitled “From the Known to the Unknown”, Elise spoke of the inspiration behind her soon to be published novel, The New Recruit, based on a real childhood experience.


Josephine Vaccaro-Chang

josephine and book

Josephine Vaccaro-Chang

Josephine explained how her workshops for preschool children took shape. She showcased her book, We Are Colourful Friends, and discussed how she uses the book and puppets in her educational presentations. Josephine’s 6′ tall, red flamingo, ruby was on hand to help her with the presentation. Watch for Josephine as she begins touring her entire sculpture collections. Her first stop will be Indigo in Richmond Hill on Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 1 – 4 pm.


Tamara Hecht


Tamara and her books.

In “Starting Local”, Tamara explained how she prefers to publicize her Monsterville novels locally. It is easy to get lost on the Internet, she said. It is much better to take advantage of local opportunities–like schools, festivals, and libraries–right in your own neighbourhood.



Howard Isenberg


Howard & Mr. Balloona-Man


Howard’s novel, Mr. Balloona-Man was inspired by his children. The Howard’s likeness and that of his children are featured in the book. Not only did Howard share his inspiration for the book, he treated us to a brief reading of a poem in the story.



Sigal Haber


Sigal Haber and her books.

Sigal’s book, Chuck the Rooster Loses his Voice, was inspired by Sigal’s extensive background in teaching and practicing entrepreneurship. It is through her picture book that she hopes to inspire today’s young children to embrace and entrepreneurship and learn what it means to take initiative in a community, she explained.

Sigal also introduced her new book, The Bear Barr Wants to Play Guitar.

The Canadian Authors’ Association

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From L to R: Rose (library staff), Anita Purcell, Richard Scrimger, and Heather (library staff).

Anita Purcell extolled the virtues of belonging to The Canadian Authors’ Association and its website. It is a great idea to join the association for networking purposes, as well as seeking out information about publishing, finding an agent, writing query letters, and so much more.

Photo Gallery

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The library’s Heather He-Stewart emceed event

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Richard Scrimiger

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Josephine moderates panel discussion with audience.

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Sigal Haber and Rivka Ringelstein.

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Josephine and Ruby.

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Photo courtesy of Rivka Ringelstein. 

Vaughan Public Libraries Writers’ Series

richard scrimgerAspiring writers and book lovers are welcome to join and hear the wonderful stories behind our authors’ latest works.

When: April 22, 2017

Time: 1:30 – 4 pm

Where: Bathurst Clark Resource Library

Address: 900 Clark Ave. W. , Thornhill, Ontario


1:30 – Bestselling author, Richard Scrimger, shares his experience in creating children’s literature.

2:30 – Meet Vaughan Writers’ Club members Elise Abram, Josephine Vaccaro-Chang, Tamara Hecht, Howard Isenberg, and Sigal Haber as they discuss the inspiration behind their writing.

3:00 – Panel discussion – Richard Scrimger and local authors answer your questions.

3:30 – Canadian Authors Association Presentation and Meeting.

For more details, see Writers’ Series Poster.