Category : Author of the Month

Author of the Month

Former Lebanese television host Nataly Restokian trying to start “Me Too” Movement in the Middle East

Nataly Restokian Author of Masks

Me Too stories of sexual assault have dominated the headlines in the western world, but across the water, in the Arab world, the issue remains an elusive one.

“I wrote this story because I wanted to face my own demons. I had to face myself and the things that happened to me. I am not a hero and I’m not a victim. I dreamed of fame and power and I gave up a lot of things for that,” said the former Lebanese actress and television and radio host.

Masks is a dark fictional tale based on the author’s true-life events. The protagonist, Ana, is an Armenian girl born in Lebanon in the seventies. She achieves fame and fortune as a prominent television host in the Middle East, but at an incredible cost.

Restokian says Ana’s story is not unique, but in the Middle East, it’s one rarely told.

“Masks that women are obliged to wear inspired me to write this novel, based partly on real events in my life and partially to include the pain of so many other women that I witnessed along the way,” said Restokian.

“I decided to become their voice because they do not dare to speak up in a world where social and religious standards openly chastise the very actions that, behind closed doors, have become the ultimate paradigmatic way of their lives.”

Restokian, who now lives in Montreal with her husband, says she wants to start the #metoo movement in Lebanon, opening up about her own sexual harassment.

Masks Nataly Restokian

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Author of the Month

Entrepreneur turned authorpreneur Del Chatterson on how becoming a self-published author is like running a business

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Entrepreneur now turned authorpreneur Del Chatterson is approaching his new career as an author with the same dedication as running a business.

“The motivation and work habits are similar. It is necessary to have a process and a plan, to be creative, innovative, determined, disciplined and hardworking,” said Chatterson.

The Montreal-based author has taken inspiration from his decades of experience in the computer industry and applied it to his latest crime-fiction novel. “No Easy Money” is set in 1980s Montreal and follows young entrepreneur Dale Hunter as his computer business is attacked by gangsters and the Montreal Mafia.

“A lot of details of the entrepreneurial experience is based on my life,” said Chatterson, who grew his computer monitor distribution business from zero to $20-million in eight years.. “It includes some fascinating insights into the challenges of entrepreneurs.”

Del also named his protagonist Dale, a name similar to his own. But the crime, drama and suspense that make the book a more entertaining read, are all imaginary.

Chatterson was inspired by writers like Kathy Reichs and Ian Hamilton who also turned their business experience into crime- fiction.

“I thought, I could do that.’ He attended writing workshops, read a lot of book from his favourite authors on how to write well and began with short stories to flex his muscles.

Once he reached retirement, Chatterson was able to devote more time to his writing. “No Easy Money” started as an idea 15 years ago, but after two years of writing, he had a manuscript. Tellwell published the book in August 2018.

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Author of the Month

New “meat bible” textbook is the first of its kind in North America and being used in schools across Canada

Tellwell with author

Dan Westgeest and Ken Jakes visit Tellwell

 

This month at Tellwell we are profiling an unusual book, one that is stunning in its imagery and full of valuable information. The Canadian Meat Cutting textbook is the first of its kind in North America, being used by industry professionals as well as trade schools across Canada.

It’s a comprehensive book, and a heavy one with over 700 pages, and 1300 colour images covering a broad range of topics from food safety, to meat science, processing, harvesting and cooking methods. The textbook is a deep dive into the various types of meats, their cuts and meat-cutting techniques.

Writer Dan Westgeest calls it the “meat bible.” “Being a meatatarian, I think anyone associated with the meat industry or those interested in a career in the meat industry, and even those handling meats, should read it as it has loads of information,” he said.

Before the Canadian Professional Meat Cutter’s Association (CPMCA) produced the meat bible, all industry professionals and schools had as a resource was a three-ring binder containing out-of-date text and black and white images.

“In comparison, the new book is a masterpiece,” said editor Ken Jakes, who also led the book project on behalf of CPMCA. He says he was inspired to upgrade the old modular manual that had been used since the 1990s.

“The meat industry was in a real need of a full-colour textbook to support both entry-level and industry training. The cover design looks really great. It was a real team effort between us and the Tellwell designer,” said Jakes.

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Author of the Month

How divine intervention and serendipity led Tellwell author Jana Rieger to write her first book, and adapt it to the big screen

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It was on a long-haul flight to Europe, and right before a sabbatical, that academic scientist Jana Rieger suddenly had a character appear in her mind.

“Between the fatigue and boredom of being on a long flight, this character came into my mind. The one thing the sabbatical did was allow for some freedom in my mind. It allowed for a space to open up,” said the University of Alberta professor and research director.

In the book, Fennel is a young student and research assistant who is engaging in unethical medical behaviour and attempting to destroy her boss’ reputation and career. Set in Edmonton, at the same university in which Rieger works, A Course in Deception explores the ethical complexities that arise when profit and greed influence health research.

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While the story is completely fictionalized, Rieger says there have been high profile cases around the world of researchers fabricating data in order to secure funding.

“It doesn’t matter which university or where you are in the world, you realize this is an issue. I don’t think there is any one place or academic institution that is immune to this.”

Younger colleagues applauded Rieger because the book made them think about issues related to pressure versus ethical duty in a way they never had before. Rieger noted that many also related to the work pressures researchers face in securing grants and publishing a certain amount of papers every year.

The similarities between the main character, Dr. MacKenzie Smith, and Rieger herself had colleagues wondering if the other characters were based around their own workplace.

“Some facts did make their way into fiction, but there is not one character based entirely on someone else, except for the dog,” she adds jokingly.

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Author of the Month

Entrepreneur Brandon LaBella encourages people to find purpose through failure

Brandon LaBella

It was only through failure that author Brandon LaBella was able to live with purpose and meaning.

The 23-year-old graduated from his university’s business administration program in New York State and sought work on Wall Street. But after he was rejected by a large investment firm, he realized working in finance would have been living up to an image of success that was not his own. And many of his peers felt the same.

“We are so pressured to succeed, living up to a standard that is not true to ourselves. The only way to find our authentic self is to fail. Why not give people a handbook on how to fail freely,” said LaBella.

The entrepreneur published his book with Tellwell in April. “The Journey to Failing Freely: How to Find Fulfillment By Letting Yourself Fail” is a guide for young people who are trying to find their life’s purpose and passion.

The Journey to Failing Freely

“There was no book that I could relate to about how to navigate college and where I wanted to be at the end of it,” said the New York-based author.  “I was tired of being told by everyone around me I was doing great and on the right path when I hadn’t failed once and felt caged on a societal leash.”

He wrote his book to inspire other students to seek out life experiences to find what it is that makes them truly happy without fear of failure or judgment. He says many people are trying hard to preserve a certain self-image, and often disregard their mental and physical health in the process.

Failing freely first starts with taking care of your health, LaBella says. Then he recommends people “take calculated risks, embrace the pain of suffering, put themselves in a safe environment to grow while reaching their full potential.”

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Author of the Month

Author Tyler Cameron not only survives his wedding but launches a new career

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Tellwell author Tyler Cameron’s new book is not only the completion of a life-long dream, it’s the launching pad of a book writing career.

For the last several years, he’s been blogging on various sports sites on top of his full-time advertising job. But Cameron says from a young age, he’s always known that one day he would write a book.

“I didn’t want to wait any longer to achieve this dream. The timing was right for me and I wanted to move this passion forward,” said the Greater Toronto Area based author.

“A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Wedding” is a humorous, educational handbook for soon-to-be-grooms.3d-cover-dudes-guide-to-surviving-his-wedding

“The reason I chose to focus on weddings was due to the lack of resources from a male’s perspective, coupled with my extensive involvement in weddings, it was a perfect topic for me to cover.”

Cameron says he’s everyone favourite wedding guest and groomsman. He’s been part of eight wedding parties, three of those as ‘best man,’ has been a guest at about 50 weddings and DJ’d many more.

On May 31, 2014, he played the most important wedding role, marrying his beautiful, better half, Christina. He says the biggest advice he has for engaged dudes is “listen to your future wife and enjoy the ride.”

“There are so many aspects to successfully plan and execute a wedding, I’ve seen it and heard it all. It was great to be able to lean on my experience from different perspectives to build the foundation for this book. I know what I like to see as a guest, I know what it’s like to work at a wedding and I personally know how to execute one after my own wedding,” he said.

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Writing the book took about five years from concept to completion, although he finished the majority of writing in the last year and a half after signing on with Tellwell.

“The support and motivation from the team helped drive me to complete my project,” he said.  “The publishing process was really seamless for the most part. I had no idea what I was doing, so luckily, I had the great people at Tellwell to help guide me along the way.”

His wife was also instrumental in helping him articulate parts of the wedding planning process and structure the book. She also gave him the time and space to work on it.

Tellwell published the book in April 2018. Cameron says holding that first copy in his hands felt surreal.

“To get that first copy was amazing for me and everyone else who heard me talk about it,” he said.

In just three short months, A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Wedding” has 38 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.9/5 stars.

Indie Reader gave it a 4.5/5 star rating calling the book “a funny, fast, and informative read that will make engaged bros everywhere rejoice.”A Dude's Guide to Surviving His Wedding

Cameron says it was very exciting to see the book so well received.  “It was really cool to see that the reviewer just got it and understood where I was coming from. It was great they found it educational but also funny.”

The Indie Reader approved author is now working hard with the Tellwell book marketing team to promote his book and making sure as many people as possible hear about it. In June, he hosted a successful book launch, he’s appeared on podcasts, vodcasts and has several interviews and book signings coming up.

ty036 ty031 Author Tyler Cameron book launch

He’s also keeping active on social media, focusing on building a following on his website and gaining subscribers to his newsletter.

Now with the first book under his belt, Cameron is excited to launch a series of “dude’s guides” with the next title being “A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Kids.”

He and his wife have two daughters (three and six months old) so it’s been a very busy time at the Cameron household. Now that he’s gone through the writing and publishing process, he expects the next book to take about a year. The Canadian author has no shortage of ideas, and multiple projects are in the works.

With a dedicated and growing audience, it won’t be long before Tyler Cameron’s side hustle turns into a full-time writing career.
Buy A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Weddding on Amazon

Visit Tyler’s Website

Say Hi to Tyler on Social  socialmedia-facebook socialmedia-instagram socialmedia-twitter

 

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Author of the Month

From the set to the page: Author Michael Parnall shares advice for those working in the film industry

By Tyler Hooper

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While working as a production assistant on a film set, Michael Parnall learned the hard way not to make a mistake. But this mistake also sparked some creativity, which led him to publish his first book, “Am I the on Idiot Set?,” an often funny, yet practical guide for those new to working on film productions.

“As the film industry grows, there are increasingly new people starting in several different departments and I know this guide will save productions time and money. I also wish there was a book with this info when I started because learning by mistake is not fun,” said Michael.

However, there was also a more personal motivation for Michael wanting to publish his book. In January of 2017, Michael was also diagnosed with multiple scleroses, a diagnosis that drastically changed his life. MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, and because of the disease, Michael isn’t able to do all of the things on set that he used to. But he didn’t let this deter him. Through sheer optimism and love of film, Michael made his dream come true of publishing his book and now he’s also giving back.

“During my lifetime, I have witnessed the magnitude and devastation that this disease can inflict. It is my intention to not only bring awareness to multiple scleroses but provide a useful and practical way for people to donate as well. “

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Author of the Month

From historical research to staff-picked, award-winning novel – Renée Veillet shares of her accomplishments as an indie author

img_0002-180x300What started as research into her own family’s history during the settling of Western Canada in the 1900s, transitioned to an award-winning historical fiction novel and a long-term career as a writer and published author for Renée Veillet.

Inspired by the stories she learned of her ancestors, the Calgary-based author sought out to honour Canadian history in a medium that might be more entertaining and enjoyable for young adults.

“My ancestors endured hardships that were unimaginable; my great grandfather was forced to leave his family behind in order to seek work in Canada. The first family member he could afford to bring over travelled in steerage class on the Titanic and did not survive,” explains Veillet. “I feel a debt of gratitude towards my ancestors and want to honour them by sharing their stories with my children and the generations to come.”

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By the fall of 2017, Veillet was a published author and Rings of Time quickly began to receive high praise. The book, which has been compared to the popular TV series Outlander, has been described by Goodreads readers as “[p]erfectly paced and beautifully descriptive” and “an entertaining escape into another time.”

Local bookstores have also expressed interest in the book, and it was even featured as a Staff Pick at the Crowfoot Chapters in December 2017.

“As a first-time author, having my book on the shelf of the local bookstore was a huge milestone,” says Veillet. “Having it chosen as a staff pick was an unexpected surprise.”

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Author of the Month

Tellwell author Kristin Pierce ignites self-discovery in children through Inner Compass Books

Soul-searching, finding yourself and self-empowerment are often facets of transitioning from childhood to adulthood, but Tellwell author Kristin Pierce wanted to spark the journey of self-discovery earlier on.

As a mother of two, she sought out to find picture books with empowering messages to share with her children. But the nature of the subject matter left her with few options. Drawing from her personal journey of self-discovery, Pierce transformed some strong, thought-provoking life lessons into a beautifully illustrated children’s book titled Your Inner Compass That Could.

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“As a mother, I thought that if I was craving books with deeper learning messages for my kids, maybe there were other parents out there wanting that too,” she explains. Her goal in creating the story was to use the book to bring empowering messages to the world in an inspirational, understandable and relatable way.

The messages conveyed are concepts that Pierce began unraveling when faced with ovarian cancer at age 21. Self-reflection and inner confidence were pivotal throughout her experience, and are topics that she felt when described appropriately, could resonate just as strongly with children.

“What I uncovered along the way is that we all have this inner wisdom that we can use to help us navigate life from a place of alignment and truth. I realized that this was something I had been ignoring in myself for so long that I felt very disconnected from my truth and who I really was. In the process of getting to know myself better, I knew I was not the only one who felt disconnected or lost along the way,” she says.

To adapt these seemingly abstract concepts into a children-friendly story, Pierce knew the illustrations would carry a significant amount of the messaging.

“I had to dig deep into my creative depths to bring my illustration vision to the surface for Your Inner Compass That Could,” she explains. “The illustrations are infused with symbolism and meaning, and that process required a lot of reflecting, but it was so worth it in the end!”

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Author of the Month

YA author Rachael Bell-Irving uses pre-marketing to grow following, knowledge and experience for launch

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We’ve all heard the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ at one time or another, and book marketing is no exception. So when Tellwell author Rachael Bell-Irving decided she was going to publish her first book – Demons at the Doorstep, she immediately began exploring and experimenting with marketing in preparation for her book’s release.

First, she embellished her online author presence with a Facebook Page and website, and began to establish a voice through social media and a blog. While she knew it was important to be on multiple online platforms, Bell-Irving decided to focus on the tool she felt most comfortable with: Instagram.

She did her due-diligence researching effective hashtags and exploring community spaces like “Bookstagram.” As she began to post content, she started to pick up on some of the nuances. Beyond the importance of imagery, Bell-Irving discovered the value of allowing your personality to come through.

insta-post-4-personal“People like to know who you are behind the scenes and behind the screen,” she says.

Some of her most well-received content on Instagram has been posts of herself – whether they were related to the writing process or not. Even online, the reading community seems to appreciate a personable, humanistic approach to brand awareness.

Another advantage of the pre-marketing process for Bell-Irving was getting a better sense of her genre and her target audience. Prior to exploring the literary community on social media, she didn’t realize her writing is tailored to young adult readers.

Having learned that, she found her approach online shifted to accommodate the interests and habits of YA readers specifically. The most prominent thing she discovered was the strength of the community she had become a part of through her writing. Not only are YA readers and writers extremely interactive with one another, but being genuinely invested is quintessential to building support within the community.

The concept of “being a reader as much as a writer” goes a long way, Bell-Irving explains. So, she started to get back into reading again to really immerse herself with her audience.

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