Category : Author of the Month

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

Self-publishing advice and author affirmations from Tellwell author Chantel Riley

Our Tellwell February Author of the Month, Chantel Riley, on how social media has helped her promote her children’s book.

Social media has been a great help connecting me to an audience I could never have reached on my own.

Chantel Riley, author of I AM: Precious Affirmations

Chantel Riley has an impressive résumé as a television and Broadway actress. The talented on-screen star is also a singer/songwriter, she owns and operates a children’s clothing boutique, and is now adding “children’s author” to her accolades. Her positive-affirmations book for children has landed her on Canada’s national entertainment show, eTalk. She has also received glowing reviews for I AM: Precious Affirmations, and uses her social media platforms of tens of thousands of followers to promote her book.

The Toronto-based actress speaks about the heartfelt inspiration behind her children’s book and how social media has helped her reach a much wider audience, and shares her top three affirmations for authors!

You have an impressive résumé as a Broadway and television actor and owner of a children’s clothing boutique. Tell us more about yourself. 

I was born in Toronto to my Jamaican parents, Joan and Errol Riley, and come from a big family. I have four siblings. Before I got into show business, I grew up taking dance lessons and singing in my church.

What inspired you to write I AM and become an author? 

We had reached the one-year mark of the pandemic and I noticed I was seeing more and more reports of the decline of mental health in our youth and young children, along with the unfortunate and heartbreaking increase of suicide rates. Having two nephews of my own—one is 11 years old and the other 19 months old—I worried for their mental wellbeing and any effect this pandemic may have on them.

I am a strong believer in affirmations and the power of positive thoughts. Speaking to myself with positive words of power and love has helped me overcome some of the darkest moments of my life. Children are the future and I wanted to make sure I can leave something behind to help guide them down a road filled will love and positivity.

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Author of the Month

Self-Publishing lessons for 2022 with Author of the Month Serena Holmes

For me, just getting the book published was a success. Would I love to sell a million copies, too? Of course! But that wasn’t my goal going into it. I wanted to help as many people as possible.

Serena Holmes, author, The Accidental Entrepreneur

2022, here we are! How are you all doing? Rested and energized for a new year, we hope. However, if you’re more so in the mind state of, What? A new year! Where do I begin? What do I focus on? know that you aren’t alone. Take a breath. You’re doing your best.

One of the best ways to get out of a funk is to take a page of advice from someone who’s been in a similar situation and managed to work their way out of it. Take Serena Holmes, for example. Serena is the author of The Accidental Entrepreneur: Turning Tragedy into Triumph to Embrace my Destiny in Entrepreneurship. Serena doesn’t just offer advice and inspiration for growing entrepreneurs based on her success and accomplishments, she gives readers a look at what it took to get there, including the hardships she faced growing up.

In a 4/5 star review from IndieReader, C. S. Holmes said, “THE ACCIDENTAL ENTREPRENEUR by Serena Holmes is an introspective, hopeful self-help tome offering detailed facts and figures regarding one woman’s journey towards creating a self-sufficient, self-actualized life.” If you’re looking for a book to inspire and motivate you, this is it! Moreover, when we asked Serena if we could feature her as Tellwell’s January Author of the Month, she agreed to not only answer our questions, but to share the lessons she learned from self-publishing, so that other authors could benefit. Find out about her self-publishing tips and how she’s used media mentions and online marketing to build a following of over 14 thousand on social media!

Serena, tell us a bit about yourself.

Where do I begin? I just celebrated my fortieth birthday. I am a proud mama to a gorgeous two-year-old girl named Sienna, and a happy wife. I became a mom pretty late in life, since I was focused on my career throughout most of my twenties and thirties.

I have had my own brand-experience agency called Tigris Events for the past eighteen years, and also obtained my real estate license this past year. Before COVID, I loved to travel but am fortunate to have a family cottage to get away to when I have some downtime.

Get your copy of The Accidental Entrepreneur on Amazon, Indigo, or Barnes and Noble!

What inspired you to write The Accidental Entrepreneur?

Running your own business can be a lot like riding a roller coaster. There are plenty of ups, downs, and learning curves, especially since you have to figure out most things for yourself. I had a lot of crazy things happen throughout my childhood that I believe helped give me the foundation to be successful as an entrepreneur. Between those experiences and those I gained during my time as a business owner, I felt compelled to write and publish a book about it to help others on the same path.

What was it like opening up about the vulnerable parts of your journey as an entrepreneur, and why did you feel they were important to include in your book?

Opening up in this way was extremely nerve-wracking. I was worried about upsetting some people, but in no way was I trying to do that. The experiences were what they were, and for those that I included in the book, I felt it was important to add context for readers and detail the kinds of lessons that were learned along the way.

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

Award-winning author Vali Benson on how she generated buzz, reviews, and awards!

Our December Author of the Month, Vali Benson, has been sweeping up the book awards this season. Her young-adult fiction book, Blood and Silver, won a gold medal in two categories at the San Francisco Book Festival, took first place at the New York Book Festival in the young adult category, and won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for best first chapter book! She has generated over 100 reader reviews, and offers up her book-promotion insights to authors on how to generate buzz for your book, reviews and awards.

Published in 2020, Vali Benson was faced with marketing her book during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving online, she began the process of gaining visibility for her book by submitting for book reviews. What came next can be accredited to Vali’s hard work, consistency, and dedication to making Blood and Silver a book on every family’s bookshelf.

Read on to hear about her award and review success, plus her advice for new authors!

Tell us a bit about yourself & your book.

I have been a writer all my life. I can also now call myself a published author. It still seems like a dream, but it’s true. However, it would take some time to develop. My parents never encouraged my creative interests, so I studied retail in college. After I graduated from the University of Illinois, my husband and I moved west. We started and operated a couple of successful businesses. When we sold them, I decided to retire early to pursue my dream of writing. I currently live in Tucson, Arizona, with my husband, two sons, and grandchildren.    

Ever since I can remember, I have had a book in my hand. As a lifelong reader, I often thought, “I could do better than that.” So, I decided to finally do something about it. Blood and Silver is my first book. It is a young-adult historical fiction novel about a twelve-year-old girl in 1880’s Tombstone, AZ, who runs into all kinds of trouble trying to save her mother’s life. I like to think it has an entertaining combination of history and heart. The inspiration for Blood and Silver was formed from family outings. When our boys were little, we used to take them to Tombstone for the Wild West show. I was amazed when I learned that this little town of just over thirteen hundred residents had once been a boomtown of fifteen thousand. I couldn’t imagine it, but I knew there had to be a great story there.    

What were some of the more significant lessons you learned writing and publishing a book? This could be about the process itself, or about you.

The process of publishing a book is extremely personal and I’m sure it is different for everybody. For me, I was not quite prepared to hear other people’s reactions to my work, either positive or critical. Blood and Silver had only been a story in my head. When other people had access to my words and ideas, I felt that they were no longer mine. Those feelings gradually dissipate with each positive review received or award won.    

What have you been doing to market and promote your book?

Honestly, I don’t do anything earth-shattering. From day one, my project managers and consultants at Tellwell have guided me in the right direction and I have tried to follow their suggestions as close as possible. A major marketing strategy that was stressed to me was to establish a digital footprint. Simple steps include creating author profiles on selected social media platforms such as Facebook and Goodreads. An author website is not a necessity, but I would strongly recommend it. I try to regularly update my success on these forums thus consistently cultivating fresh interest for my book. The key is to generate constant buzz.     

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