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Author of the Month

March Author of the Month: Pearl Gregor shows us how to embrace our Divine Feminine for Women’s History Month

Allow me to introduce you to Pearl Gregor, Tellwell’s March author of the month. She is a Dream Worker, three time self-published author, and absolute force of a woman. The Tellwell team had the pleasure of working with Pearl on her three books: Authoring Self, Cauldron of the Feminine, and I, The Woman, Planted the Tree. Each book is a pillar in the Dreams Along the Way series, where Pearl helps readers sift through their dreams in order to find freedom as an individual and wholeness in body, mind and soul.

We caught up with Pearl to see what wisdom she can offer from publishing three books – she has a lot to share! And, to learn more about her work in empowering women. It’s Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating women all month.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born at the end of the war in 1945 and raised with my six brothers in homestead country, northern Alberta. My mom was very fond of saying, “Educate a woman, educate the world.” I became an educator, administrator, provincial government education consultant and along the way, a radical feminist. In 2008, I completed my doctorate “The Apple and the Talking Snake: Feminist Dream Reading and the Subjunctive Curriculum.”

I am mother to three and have six grandsons and one granddaughter.

I live on my farm with 22 head of cattle and my Australian Shepherd, Buddy.

What inspires you as an author?

I continue to be inspired by the faces of women who carry on, despite abuse, centuries of being ignored, left out, and refused acceptance as equal partners in the world. Women lead, inspire, teach and mother. During the Covid crisis, it is the women who continue to provide cheap labour for essential services like food. The janitorial staff in hospitals, the aides, the grocery clerks and so many other low-paying jobs that keep a patriarchal culture intact! And when they retire, the poverty continues. CPP eligibility relies on being employed and receiving a salary.

There are dozens and dozens of reasons for women to feel rage. To be angry. It’s the subtle yet constant drip, drip, drip of daily sexism that both wears me out and inspires me. And let me just say, the continuous belittlement of our fears and our tears? How cunning! How intimidating! And so, just recently, I blew my teapot! The steam rises. I speak out more now than ever. To quote Maya Angelou, “And still I rise.”

Women of the world, until we dig up the cultural roots of our own repression and our own complicity in silence, change will continue at the same pace as continental drift.

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Celebrating Women! Award-winning authors, rave reviews and publicity

This month, as we celebrate Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate the successes of some of the incredibly talented women published with Tellwell! 

These fabulous women have risen up and used their imagination, voice and experience to create something timeless. Each of our featured authors are celebrating a unique success in their journey as an author.

From the kind generosity of young author Shreya Gupta, to some local spotlights for authors Jennifer Chapin, Gabriella Kikwaki, and Dr. Greta Archbold! Back around to the highly acclaimed work of Darice Cairns, Ellie Beals, and Maria Depenweiller. 

We hope you check out the stories from some of Tellwell’s women creators.

Shreya Gupta donated all the the proceeds made in the month of February from the sales of her book, Flamingo Feet, to #PinkShirtDay! What is Pink Shirt Day? Pink Shirt Day is an Anti-Bullying Day when people wear a pink shirt to symbolize a stand against bullying. 

Shreya’s involvement in Pink Shirt Day had her featured on Global News, 980 CKNW radio, Breakfast Television with Bevo Brown, and on the Pink Shirt Foundation website! Shreya, we celebrate your continued success and generosity. You go girl! 

Check out Shreya’s interview with Breakfast Television with Devo Brown by clicking here!

Shreya is also the recipient of the 2021 International Elite Women’s Global Award (youth category). The award recognizes outstanding women & young girls who have demonstrated innovation & leadership. Congratulations Shreya!


Gabriella is another young Tellwell author who we are excited to celebrate! Gabriella, and her parents Angel & Olivier, joined Mike Stubbs on London Live 980CMFL to discuss her bilingual juvenile chapter book A Link Between Two Worlds / Un Lien Entre Deux Mondes: Volume 1 & 2. 

Check out Gabriella’s interview with Mike Stubbs by clicking here!


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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

WOMEN RUN THE WORLD: Celebrating Some of the Inspirational Women Around Us

March is Women’s History Month, and we thought it would be fitting to highlight some of the incredible women who have self-published their book with Tellwell, and the moving stories that they have to tell! 

Jennifer Robertson

Self-proclaimed Fertility Warrior, Jennifer Robertson is the author behind the inspirational memoir The Injustice of Infertility: A True Story of Heartbreak, Determination and Never-Ending Hope. In addition to her debut novel, Jennifer is a fertility coach, aiming to help other women feel less alone throughout their journey with fertility treatments. 

“Infertility was not my first rodeo – but it was the first bull I ever rode that bucked me off and laid me on my ass.  It broke me open and created scars that never really healed.”

Jennifer puts everything out there, and her real approach to infertility (no sugar-coating, just empowering, brutal honesty) has connected thousands of women across the web. With this community, she’s helped tons of people understand infertility and the pain it can cause, while providing an insightful helping-hand for any woman that needs it. 

In order to help those struggling with infertility, Jennifer created The Lighthouse Project. The Lighthouse Project is a four-week online program that helps provide some clarity and direction in the infertility process, and provides the opportunity for women to feel less alone as they navigate their journey with infertility. .

To be inspired, work with Jennifer, or learn more about her journey, visit her website, www.jenniferrobertson.co.

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Meet the Team

Why marketing your book is just as important as writing it – advice from Tellwell’s marketing consultant Colleen Hay

At the end of the day, book marketing is really all about connecting with people and enjoying the process.

Colleen Hay, Tellwell Book Marketing Consultant

What does a typical week look like for you as a marketing consultant?

A typical work week as a book marketing consultant is never very typical! What I love most about the role is how varied it is day-to-day. Some days, I’m busy consulting with authors on various marketing activities they can do to help promote their books, and other days I’m designing websites, promotional materials, and social media campaigns to help get them started on their marketing journey. 

What do you enjoy most about working with authors? 

I am inspired daily by each author I work with. I’m amazed by their bravery in making that first move to get their words and thoughts down on paper. It’s such a pleasure to be able to meet authors of all ages, every walk of life, and from so many different countries! I love to hear why they wrote their book and to watch their level of enthusiasm surge once they’ve received some guidance on when and where to start marketing their book.

What do you tell authors who aren’t interested in marketing their book?

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews Tellwell Books

Celebrating Black Authors: Black History Month

It’s Black History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions that Black people have made to history, society, and culture. We’ve had the privilege of working with so many talented Black authors on their self-publishing journey, and we want to share a few of their unique stories with you!

From National Hero and first Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Sir Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds, to eight-year-old author Adetola Babatunde who wrote her first children’s book to combat Covid boredom, to motivational speaker, coach and consultant Anthony Sanni, we hope you check out the stories from some of Tellwell’s Black creators.

Tequis McGann

Kyra’s BIG Appetite

Kyra’s BIG Appetite is a humorous story written in a playful rhyme scheme. Kyra is a rambunctious child with a sweet tooth she can’t seem to control. She has an unhealthy diet consisting mostly of cookies, ice cream, and cake. Although Kyra’s mother warns her that unhealthy eating will catch up to her, she does not listen. Kyra now faces the responsibility of making a decision about her eating habits. What will she decide?

Tequis McGann, a GTA native currently residing in Toronto, Ontario, graduated from McMaster University in 2015 with an Honours Bachelor’s degree in English. In 2018, Tequis returned to school to pursue an interest in learning American Sign Language, and in 2019 she graduated from George Brown College with an ASL and Deaf Studies certificate. A passionate writer and poet, Tequis tells stories inspired by real experiences and people. Through her extensive career in the social service industry focusing on mental health, seniors, at-risk youth, and children, Tequis has a plethora of experience working with ethnic and culturally diverse people. Her love and fascination for the difference that people bring to their communities, motivate her to detail these idiosyncratic encounters through storytelling.

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Meet the Team

Tellwell project manager Joy Comendador offers advice to first-time authors

We’re passionate about books so it’s no surprise that some of us at Tellwell not only love helping authors through their publishing journey but are going through our own! Project manager Joy is currently writing her novel. Learn more about Joy, her role as a Tellwell project manager, and what her book is about!

What puts a smile on your face every day? 

Learning something new, helping others in small ways, and showing appreciation. When I push my limits and accomplish things that I once thought were very difficult, that puts a wide smile on my face. 

What do you enjoy most about working with authors?

“Meeting” a lot of interesting people, knowing their stories and how they came up with their books is delightful. My absolute favourite feeling is when my authors tell me I’ve helped them fulfill their dreams.

What advice do you have for authors going through the publishing process?

My advice is to ask a lot of questions, especially for first-time authors. Having patience throughout the process is really important too. I understand the excitement in wanting to be published quickly, but I advise authors to not rush through approving drafts— take the time to carefully review them:)

What advice do you have for authors who are considering publishing their manuscript?

I’m trying to write a book myself as well so I would say, don’t hesitate and take a leap of faith because it will be your legacy.

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Author of the Month

February’s author of the month – Poetry author Utanu Maa’s lessons in resilience

For February’s author of the month we are celebrating Utanu Maa! Utanu came into Tellwell without any prior publishing experience, and with little knowledge on how she could market her book. Over the last 6 months, Utanu has embraced her new role of authorpreneur and has successfully been featured on a number of blogs, received a beautiful review from IndieReader and is connecting with poets and readers all over the world through her social media.

“Utanu Maa’s RISE AND FALL OF MY BELOVED is a short biographical poetry collection, focused heavily on the themes of grief, mourning, recovery and resilience. The story is deeply personal, it speaks for countless individuals who are voiceless and marginalized. Nevertheless, the writing never seethes with anger at the injustice and unfairness. Instead, it is full of empathy, understanding and acceptance, and may be a cathartic experience for some readers, especially those trying to heal from trauma.” – Archita Mittra for IndieReader

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Utanu Maa, also known as Utanu Adele Mafandala, my birth name. I published my debut book of poetry last year using a pen name, Utanu Maa, just to keep it short on the book. I live in Toronto, Ontario and worked as a public servant within the Ontario Court of Justice. I had previously lived many years in Montreal where I migrated from the Democractic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1991. I was born and raised in DRC where I studied French Literature and Civil Law, and pursued education in Paralegal studies and Fashion Management after moving to Canada. I am a proud mother of a young man who is building his career as a Fine Art artist after graduating from the Memorial University of Newfoundland Fine Art/Visual and Technology last year.

2. What inspired you to write your book?

I needed to heal from the profound grief and loss I carried after the death of  my only sibling and brother from my mother. I lost my brother to HIV/AIDS. He suffered a lot, and it was painful to him, and to me as a sister to witness my loved one going through a myriad of pains and health complications until he died. I cared for him for the last two months of his life. I was deeply sad and devastated. 

I grieved from April 2019 until April 2020; I felt weary and burdened, I desperately needed to talk to someone to share and ease my pain. But Covid-19 had forced the entirety of humanity into confinement. My anxiety, along with everyone elses, increased and I felt so lonely inside and out.  

My son was away for studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In solitude, the only voice you can hear is yours inside of you or your own murmure, and the only person you talk to is your own double. So, my only rescue was to write and pour all my grief onto a paper to start a journey to resilience, gratitude, and healing.

3. How have your personal experiences influenced your book?

In my book, I expose not only the pain and suffering caused by the HIV virus but also the shame, stigmas, discrimination, rejection, and isolation that our society inflicts to people living with HIV. So, I write about a virus that is still active, still very infectious, and deadly to bring awareness for protection, inspiration for resilience in hard times, aspiration for a healthy and compassionate society, a testimony and reflection about the voiceless and vulnerable people in our society. 

Each poem of my book depicts a true story and personal experiences.  I am the witness of the events happening throughout the journey that my readers embark in my book. I wrote about what happened to my brother, from his childhood as a vulnerable orphan infant, marginalized but resilient to survive and grow, to his rise as an accomplished and successful engineer, and to his fall and death as a HIV/AIDS patient. 

My writing is also a journey into learning to express gratitude despite challenges because life is a blessing.  Our life is filled with many blessings, big or small, but we tend to forget to count them when facing hardship, struggles. One morning as I was weeping, thinking of my brother’s struggles in childhood as a vulnerable and neglected six months old orphan infant when my mother died, recalling the bullies he endured because he did not speak earlier like other kids and was labelled mentality retarded and incapable of succeeding at school, and counting the pain, sufferings, shame and rejection he faced and how he beat all odds and became an accomplished Master in Structure and Building Engineer, a still small voice stormed me inside and spoke to me in this way: “count instead the blessings of his life and heal from that because death is not a punishment”. 

From that moment, my brother’s death became the beginning of a new life in everlasting peace.  My grief taught me to express gratitude, and with gratitude, I found resilience to overcome and heal. These are the two main lessons in my book: resilience and gratitude to overcome grief, and heal.

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews Tellwell Books

Tellwell Authors Promote Their Self-Published Books in the Media

As part of Black History Month we’re shining the spotlight on a few of the Black authors we’ve had the privilege of working with over the past year. These self-published authors are promoting their books in a range of unique ways. Take a look to inspire your own book promotion ideas!

Record a podcast at your launch event

Author Ray Byfield recorded a podcast episode to answer questions about his new book at his launch event. Last September, Ray hosted a socially distanced book launch to celebrate the release of This Business of Life and Business. He shared this video to his YouTube page; he posted it to his website; and, he promoted it on his Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

Creating one piece of quality content can go far when you adapt it for promoting on each of your platforms.


Pitch to journalists for a deeper connection with your audience

Arnelle M. Cruz was interviewed by The Hollywood Times to discuss her book The Survivor Story of Arnelle: A Girl from Africa. Arnelle opens up about what it was like growing up in Liberia, and she tells readers how they too can overcome adversity.

Interviews and feature stories, like Arnelle’s interview, give readers a deeper insight into your story.

Arnelle M. Cruz – visit her website here.

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Book Marketing Tips & Tricks

TIPS & TRICKS: Author resources that exclusively promote POC authors

#imatter: Unicorns Sleep Here by Irony James

When meeting with author Irony James about her upcoming inspirational novel #imatter: Unicorns Live Here, she posed the question of not only what resources were available to her as an author, but also what resources were available to her as an author of colour. Irony is passionate about being a black, female author, and wanted to connect with fellow POC creatives within the industry to share her story.

This conversation prompted a deep dive into festivals, organizations, and platforms that pride themselves on giving black authors a voice, and allowing them to make connections with other POC creatives. 

We wanted to share some of our awesome findings with you!

APPLICATIONS

The StoryGraph
The StoryGraph is an up and coming virtual library platform! Created by Nadia Odunayo in late 2019, The StoryGraph prides itself on being ethnically diverse with it’s authors and content, instead of focusing on only mainstream books. Similar to Goodreads, The StoryGraph provides readers with a place to find great new reads, and review their favourite books.

When signing up for the website, readers are prompted to fill out a survey discussing their reading preferences including favourite genres, favourite book characteristics, genres that they would be uninterested in, and what they don’t like about certain books. The StoryGraph uses these preference tags to recommend different books to users across the platform, so readers can request to see books that only feature POC Characters, LGTBQ Characters, books written by POC authors, etc.! Readers are also prompted to rate books based on criteria like themes, moods, pace, and the characters themselves (such as character development, how diverse the characters are, whether or not the characters are loveable, or if their flaws are on display, etc.), so the ratings can’t be skewed or biased.  

Similar to Goodreads, The StoryGraph provides users with the option to create reading challenges that are accessible to the whole community. They have a a whole section of these challenges dedicated to reading #OwnVoices, with challenges such as 100 Black Novelist You Should Read, Inclusivity Reading Challenge, and Reading Writers of Colour 2021, among others. 

The StoryGraph is definitely a platform to keep an eye on, as it’s going to be one of the most important virtual libraries around!

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews Uncategorized

Celebrating award-winning authors, rave reviews and publicity!

Congratulations to each of our authors for their terrific accomplishments! 

D. Robert Hardy

Raven’s Apprentice

D. Robert Hardy, author of Raven’s Apprentice,  is an Award Winning Finalist for The Best Book Award 2020 in the New-Age Nonfiction Category.

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