Category : Author of the Month

Author of the Month

Authorship, toy manufacturing, and living your dreams: author of the month Monika Blichar

Polish-Canadian author Monika Blichar shares advice for aspiring creatives and provides insights on the people and places that have influenced her the most.

I have always wanted to write my own book and I still have some very detailed books I created from elementary school on my bookshelf!

Monika Blichar

Monika Blichar wears many hats. She is both a congenial creative and a goal-oriented entrepreneur eager to create growth and opportunities for herself and others. Monika’s latest project, My Magical Gnome, provides wholesome entertainment to children while fostering creativity and a sense of wonder. In addition to talking about her latest project, Monika also shares her experiences as an artist and entrepreneur.

The first time Tellwell readers saw you was as the illustrator of Murray The Dragon by Cristina Petersen. What sparked the move towards publishing your own story?

I loved working on the artwork for Murray the Dragon, and it was a great way to start learning about publishing, as the author, Cristina, is a good friend of mine who I have known since high school. It was great fun to work with a friend and a talented writer to launch our first real published book together. I have always wanted to write my own book and I still have some very detailed books I created from elementary school on my bookshelf! It dawned on me just before Christmas 2019 that I needed to launch my own book. I feverishly came home from the art studio and told my family all about my idea. For the next two years, I focused a lot on writing, illustrating and bringing to life my own story, which is inspired by my childhood and our hometown of Wroclaw, Poland.

What inspired the story of My Magical Gnome?

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Author of the Month

‘The words in this book are my battle cry’ says Author of the Month: Blaise Hunter

Through a brave story of reflection, trauma healing, and heroism, one author blazes a trail toward better communication

November 15, 2022 / by Ben Graham

This month we celebrate Blaise Hunter, an engaging and insightful author who has turned adversity into empathy and grown as a writer and leader. More than an author, Blaise is also an international speaker, podcast host, copywriter, fertility expert, and certified human rights advocate. A breaker of chains, she tackles the realities of issues women face, from low confidence and lack of identity to social injustices. In 2020 she won the Influencer Award at the Canadian Women of Inspiration Awards.

I am continually birthing my purpose. It is my vision to see others fulfill their dreams as well. – Blaise Hunter

What inspired you to write Captain Communicator?

In all honesty, the meaning behind my work is to stay alive. I wrote this book because I refuse to wither and die emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Disease, miscarriages, trauma, pain, and heartache don’t define me. By reconnecting the communication portals, I starve a rare autoimmune condition and inject healing into my inner and outer world. My book is a deliberate provocation to trigger us forward. Communication is connection. We must connect to the nemesis and let it propel us into growth. We can all relate to experiencing trauma, miscommunication, conflict, and illnesses. My vision was to take the reader along my healing journey and inspire others to heal the dis-ease in their lives by exploring various aspects of communication. Captain Communicator demonstrates the importance of being hungry and desperate to live. Benjamin Franklin is attributed with saying, “Most people die at twenty-five and don’t get buried until seventy-five.” Emotionally not dying is the key to my not dying physically. The words in this book are my battle cry. Vulnerability, humility, courage, and a relentless spirit provoke connection.

Captain Communicator is your second book. As an author, what type of growth did you experience between the first and second book?

Great question. I see exponential growth in my writing skills and confidence with this book. We all began somewhere, and I loved my raw, blind ambition with Heroine: Embrace Your Flaws & Own Your Awesome, but with experience comes wisdom. I have acquired many tools and strategies but saw the most growth with my actual execution of the book launch. Knowing what I want and advocating for the vision to be birthed indicates a blossoming. I also challenged myself to be even braver with my words and vulnerability. Heroine was a courageous step forward in discovering freedom and power. Captain Communicator highlights a woman who has come into her own and is the hero of her story. She still has giants in her life, but she co-exists with them like a true protagonist. I am proud of each stage and how they’ve shaped me into a seasoned writer. 

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Author of the Month

Lisa Bournelis empowers children to be their own heroes while shining a light on mental health

Inspired by her child’s experiences with OCD during the pandemic, Lisa Bournelis pens Louie and the Dictator to empower those living with mental illness.

Your story is gold.  Your vulnerability will help others in ways you may not have realized or imagined.

Lisa Bournelis is a mom, taekwondo black belt, healthcare change consultant, and former humanitarian aid worker. She has served all over the world, from Africa to the Balkans to Afghanistan. Inspired by her child’s experiences with OCD during the pandemic, she wanted to uplift children struggling with anxiety during this extraordinary time, by showing that they are the heroes of their own stories, and by sharing the hopeful message that adjustments to the way we think can transform our circumstances.

What inspired you to write Louie and the Dictator?

Like many parents of children with additional needs, the pandemic presented an additional layer of isolation. As access to resources and supports were cut off for the most vulnerable children, and as anxieties were heightened by the continued uncertainty, I wanted to provide a message of hope and inspiration for other anxious and neurodiverse children based on my son’s experiences.  

From this time of darkness, the uplifting middle-grade novella Louie and the Dictator was born. The story is designed to take children on a journey that has them see themselves as heroes of their own story, while incorporating clinical elements within an adventurous narrative.   

I also wanted to be purposeful in giving back and supporting the team that helped my son prior to, and following, the pandemic. I donate a minimum of 20% of my royalties to the paediatric OCD research team at BC Children’s Hospital.  

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Author of the Month Tellwell Books

Overcoming fears and conquering dreams – Coach Mark Teague on resilience, determination and ambition

American high school football coach Mark Teague offers inspiring advice to young authors and shares what he’s learned through his author journey.

Mark Teague the author, speaker, double-cancer survivor, and now a name that is known throughout the world.

Mark Teague is a nationally recognized American football coach. His debut book, The Conquering Dreamer: Using Your Dreams to Conquer the Obstacles of Life with Passion and Purpose, chronicles the significant challenges he faced throughout his life and how he overcame them. Mark’s inspiring resilience can help readers learn to overcome their own obstacles.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a high school football coach currently residing in Louisiana. I’m a husband and father of two adult sons. Raised in the state of Alabama, I have coached in various states throughout the southeastern portion of the United States. I have been blessed with invitations to speak as both a public motivational speaker and a football clinic speaker throughout the United States this past spring and summer. I’m a graduate of Troy University (Troy, AL) with a B.S. in Secondary Education Social Science.

What inspired you to write The Conquering Dreamer?

I was diagnosed with and defeated two different forms of cancer (throat & prostate) in 2019. My cancer journey, along with a challenging trek through childhood that continued into adulthood, and my ability to chase my dreams and conquer all challenges that came my way in pursuit of my dreams, was the impetus behind authoring my autobiography. After some coaxing, I was convinced that I had a story the world needed to read. The catharsis it offered me could be well served as catharsis to someone needing the motivation to continue onward in this often difficult and unfair journey we call life.

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Author of the Month Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Author Phil Earle shares the story of an unknown Canadian legend in new novel

Phil Earle’s father, Guy Earle, lived an exhilarating life. With his new memoir, I’ll Go the Length of Meself, Phil hopes to showcase his legacy as a great mariner, businessman, humanitarian, and exhibitionist, along with many other attributes.

There will never be another Guy Earle, there couldn’t be.”

This is his story, and Phil is proud to share it.

Never let failure define who you are, but instead, learn about yourself and grow from it.

– Phil Earle, author of I’ll Go the Length of Meself

Tell us about yourself.

From my mother and maternal grandparents, who were wonderful, I grew up believing their high standards for truth, compassion and integrity. From Captain Guy, my father, and my paternal grandparents, I learned to have respect for people and the world, and to have a drive to give the best of whatever life has given me.

What inspired you to write I’ll Go the Length of Meself?

In the beginning, I wanted to tell the story of the remarkable life of my father—this after he had been gone fifty years. And I finally, at the age of seventy, through maturity and wisdom, realized that no one had a life like him.

After finishing the book, it became obvious to me that Skipper Guy was a gifted, brilliant product of the people and culture of his era.

A second story was thus revealed in the book, the story of the great maritime people of the coast of Newfoundland. It became obvious to me that much of what I admired and expressed about my father and the culture of his people is strongly embedded in my character as well.

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Author of the Month Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Former Sportstalk Radio host Dan Russell is making headlines with his new memoir

Pleasant Good Evening, a Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk hits #1 on the Amazon bestseller rankings in multiple categories

Canadian sports fans have grown up listening to Dan Russell’s Sportstalk radio show over its three-decade run, and now they can relive some of the most iconic moments in BC sports history in Dan’s new memoir, Pleasant Good Evening, a Memoir: My 30 wild and turbulent years of Sportstalk.

Russell has been interviewed by dozens of media outlets, and his book hit #1 in the Amazon bestseller rankings in multiple categories.

What began in 1984 as a simple 50-minute filler grew into the longest-running and most-listened-to show of its kind in Canada.

What inspired you to write your memoir?  

Initially, it was something I planned for my kids to one day knew what my career was all about.  But mostly it was about making sure the legacy of the trailblazing show I hosted would be forever on the record.   

What do you hope readers will take away from your book? 

Many things, I think. 
1) Setting goals is great, both short-term and long-term.  But chasing dreams can be as unhealthy as it is healthy. 
2) The best broadcasters are the best listeners. 
3) To steal a line from former Sportstalk regular Harry Neale, “Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.” 

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Author of the Month Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

How authors can overcome imposter syndrome

Tips to unleash your inner Goddess/God with Tellwell author of the month, Rita Kakati-Shah

Rita Kakati-Shah, the author of The Goddess of Go-Getting, holds many roles both in the business world as an entrepreneur, founder & CEO, public speaker, media contributor and, now, author. She is an award-winning gender, diversity, and inclusion career strategist, speaker and coach. She founded and runs, Uma, a company that provides strategic expertise in those areas to Fortune 500 companies.

The Goddess of Go-Getting was launched on International Woman’s Day by the Consul General of India in New York and has become the number one bestseller across three categories on Amazon.

Kakati-Shah was born and raised in London, England and is from Assam heritage. She now lives in New York City with her husband and children.

You have a unique voice, so tell the story in your voice, not in someone else’s. Once you find your voice, you’ll feel the passion and your writing will flow!

Rita Kakati-Shah, author of The Goddess of Go-Getting

Authors may battle imposter syndrome, question their ideas and talent, and struggle to let go of fears. How can authors unleash their inner Goddess/God to overcome their fears?

Love this question! First and foremost, you have to remember that as an author you have your own voice. Even if two authors were to recount the exact same story, their prose and expression would be different. You have a unique voice, so tell the story in your voice, not in someone else’s. Once you find your voice, you’ll feel the passion and your writing will flow!

 What habits or rituals have you adopted that have helped you overcome fears and unleash your inner goddess? 

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Author of the Month

“Good Morning, Blake: Growing Up Autistic and Being Okay” author shares his secrets to media success!

Blake “Crash” Priddle has appeared on CTV News, the CBC and City News Calgary to talk about his inspiring and vulnerable memoir.

Always be a leader, not a follower

Bud Priddle, Grandfather of Blake “Crash” Priddle

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am 28 years old and I currently work as a radio announcer and news reporter in Northern Manitoba for Arctic Radio. I am on the autism spectrum.

If you want to learn more about my life and my career you will have to get a copy of the book, or visit my website and go to the FAQ section!

Your story is definitely an inspiring one! What was it like opening up about the vulnerable parts of your life, and why did you feel they were important to include in your book?

It was difficult reliving some painful memories from my childhood, and as an adult. This includes issues I had with anxiety and depression. For the most part, writing has been cathartic, like journalling. Putting words down on paper releases the pain and also lets you relive the good memories too. I think sharing my vulnerability helps others realize they are not alone in their journey which might give people on the autism spectrum and their families hope.

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Author of the Month

Tellwell children’s author Rishma Govani talks diversity, equity and inclusion!

Rishma Govani is an experienced communications professional with over 20 years of experience in the media industry.  She is passionate about creating tangible change in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. She is the author of the children’s book, Sushi & Samosas: a trip of tasty transformations, and is currently working on her second children’s book, Bright Lights & Forever Flights, a journey of loss, love and hope around the world.  She is the proud mother of her two kids Khalil, and Mila and their puppy, Hero.

Rishma has been featured by several media outlets, including Global News, Reading With Your Kids Podcast & Salaam Storytime! Her social media presence is booming and her work with popular creators and influencers has provided visibility for her book Sushi & Samosas: a trip of tasty transformations!

Read on to learn what advice she has for authors!

What inspired you to write Sushi & Samosas: A Trip of Tasty Transformations?

The genesis behind Sushi & Samosas is a little dinner club idea called TFLC which stands for Toronto Food Luck Club. The club’s mission was to try a different ethnic cuisine once a month. The club was active for 13 years trying over 100+ cuisines in the GTA with over 150 members.

The dinners started to slow down when our children were born but the essence of the book remained true for our children – try something new and your world expands!

Check out Toronto Food Luck Club.

How have your personal experiences influenced your book?

I was born a traveler, literally and of perspective – of word, of food, of music. I consider myself a world citizen and I am determined to raise our children as growing humanitarians who are open to every possibility that exists globally. 

The book sets out on a journey of changing perceptions by the mouthful. I know first hand that knowing a bit about other cultures, about your neighbours, about different cuisines allows the ease of talking to strangers and bringing the world close together. It connects and unites us by our similarities and does away with our differences.  I personally live by this ethos and my experiences have influenced the book.

What has the author’s journey been like for you? What are some successful and challenging moments?

It’s been a very long journey from start to finish. At times, it’s been exhausting especially during the recent publicity blitz I’ve been on, but I’m very proud of the book and the central message of it. It’s timeless and universal. I’ve been successful getting the word out through school readings and other media opportunities.  

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