Sally speaks her mind

Before Sally Barnes turned her attention to writing novels, she enjoyed a long and successful career as a journalist, columnist, TV commentator, political advisor and communications consultant. This has provided her with an insider's look at politics, the media and life in general. The current pandemic and major political events have sent Sally back to the computer to produce a regular blog on a wide range of topics that are often controversial and
sometimes just downright crazy. 


Visit Sally's blog!
A photo of the Unleashed book cover featuring the greying nose of a black dog and the phrase, a dog park is love and freedom writ large.


Tackers Bay Dog Park has brought together dogs and their people for decades. Made possible by the vision and generosity of one Bill Tacker and the feisty protection of Flora MacNinch, the park is once again under attack from developers and politicians who want to get their greedy hands on this valuable piece of real estate. It’s a situation Flora has encountered many times, and once more she rallies the doggers she has befriended and guided over the years to stand with her. But this time around a remnant from her past surfaces to put the whole dog park enterprise in jeopardy, perhaps even Flora herself. Unleashed will turn you loose in the green space of Tackers Bay, “Where a dog can run wild, the cool wet grass slapping its face…and the expression dog-tired applies to some of the doggers but never the dogs…where people can hear themselves think, and the sight of happy, romping dogs of all ages, sizes, and shapes is balm for the soul…”

Reader reviews

“Unleashed is a true love story—a story about the indescribable love that exists between people and dogs. Every page and incident causes readers to recognize themselves and their best friends. I loved it and recommend it highly. ” - Robin Wilks, Ennismore


“Sally has woven together her lifetime experience in journalism and politics and her love of animals and has produced a novel that produces tears and laughs in equal measure. The big mystery in the dog park keeps readers turning the pages!” - James McNulty, Toronto         

“This is a delightful book that evokes both smiles and tears. The contemporary story is interwoven with relationships, gossip, charity, politics and intrigue. It’s a must read for dog lovers. It’s wonderful. I loved it!” - Peggy and Paul Hutchison, Gananoque, Ontario


“Unleashed is a pleasure to read. It’s emotional, funny and intriguing. Anyone who has experienced that strong human/canine bond will enjoy this novel.” - Lynne Ulrick, Belleville, Ontario


“Sally Barnes has done it again and brought the best of life and literature together in her latest book, Unleashed. As a dog lover and frequenter of a dog park community, not to mention a lover of mysteries, she has brought us the best of both worlds in this dog park cozy! Hit the couch with your trusted dog at your feet, or on the couch, and enjoy getting to know the characters at Trackers as the mystery unfolds. You will only be able to put it down long enough to exercise Fido !” - Grace McBride, Kingston, Ontario


"Unleashed channels the characters that we've all met at the dog park.  The personalities you meet, dog and human, will leave you wondering if Sally Barnes has visited your dog park.  "Unleashed" is fun, warm and, above all, familiar.

 Its uncanny reflection of the dogger's life will keep you turning pages to keep up with what in the world this bunch will get up to next.” - Pamela Ross, Toronto, Ontario


“Unleashed is such a doggone delightful read that I would wholeheartedly recommend this beautifully written book to anyone, but especially to dog lovers. Sally Barnes describes the very special world of leash-off dog parks so wonderfully that readers will feel they are there-or wish they were! The book is action-packed and the characters and antics of the dogs and their owners, the ‘doggers’, are colourfully and humourously portrayed. Those chapters narrated by the dogs themselves from their own perspectives are an imaginative and unique feature of this captivating book.” - Laurel-Anne Wallace, Howe Island, Ontario


“Those of us who know and love dogs and their unconditional love for the humans in their lives, will have great fun reading “Unleashed”.  Taking a creative look at the sleuthing abilities all dogs possess, the story takes us through the shenanigans of a resourceful  pack of dog park friends, providing lots of laughter and tears along the way – and Barnes’ extensive experience in media and politics is evident.” - Sue Miklas, Kingston, Ontario


“Once again Sally Barnes has captured not only our imagination with this wonderful book, but also instils an exceptional enjoyment of different characters one meets not only when walking a dog, but strolling in general.

For all dog lovers, this book is a must read.  An enjoyable, warm and touching tale even if one does not love dogs. Highly recommend Unleashed.” - Kay Loek, Toronto, Ontario

A photo of the book cover for Laughed Till They Cried, featuring a large blue umbrella and a pair of smaily red lips.



Laughed Till They Cried chronicles the lives of three post-war girls who grow up amidst a group of quirky characters in a small town in Eastern Ontario. Ultimately they settle in historic Kingston where they get involved in politics and form the core of a closely knit group of 12 women who call themselves The Cell Sisters - just for the hell of it. The Cell weathers everything life can throw at a group of women hell bent on taking on the world. Nothing can stop them - until old age ruins everything.

I loved the book. What a read ! I couldn’t put it down. Your characterization was amazing—I feel like I know all of the main characters personally.

Liz Hooper, Kingston


Just finished your book and I absolutely LOVED it ! Laughed and wept for sure. ..I would have

to rate this a 5 star for sure Sal. Do another one !

Kay Loek, Tornto

-- Thanks to Chapters for a great display of my book--