Tag Archives: tellwell authors

Author of the Month Tellwell Books

Poo with a View – How an alpine outhouse experience became a top-selling book!

One of Tellwell’s best-selling books in 2020 by author Gavin Boutet

Be persistent. Be patient.

Gavin Boutet, author of Poo with a View

Gavin Boutet’s coffee table book, or perhaps more appropriately bathroom book, Poo with a View: High Alpine Shitters of the Canadian Rockies, showcases some of the most remarkable views in the Rocky Mountains….from outhouses. The unique concept was inspired by Gavin’s time working for the Alpine Club of Canada servicing these remote locations. He began photographing the, rather, unique and stunning places to go to the loo.

The quirky humor book has been featured on three national news outlets – the CBC, Global News and CTV news. The book has sold thousands of copies, and was Tellwell’s best-selling book in 2020! As our Tellwell April author of the month, we asked Gavin to share the secrets of his success and his all-time favourite poos with a view:)

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Collingwood, Ontario and moved to the Bow Valley in 1999 in pursuit of skiing champagne powder. I have been playing drums for over 30 years and have developed an addiction to fly fishing in the last five. 

What inspired you to write Poo with a View?

It was strictly a collection of photographs to start, but as the project took shape, I wrote a small amount for each “chapter” or location. It’s a simple toilet humour book, meant for the bathroom or coffee table, so there’s not a huge focus on the writing.

Tell us about the process and adventures in finding these outhouses. How did you find them? 

It was an opportunity working with the Alpine Club of Canada that led me to some of these locations. I was employed as a hut services worker when I came up with the concept. We were responsible for the helicopter long-lining work that went into servicing these remote locations, including flying out the full outhouse barrels, or “honey buckets” as we liked to call them.

Did you visit all of them or were some recommendations from friends? 

All of the photographs in the book are taken by me, so I have seen all (and used most too).

I had no idea that a funny little project like this book would actually make me money.

Gavin Boutet, author of Poo with a View

What are your top three poos with a view? 

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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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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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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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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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Author of the Month

Award winning author Kathleen Boucher’s practical advice for new authors! – Tellwell’s January author of the month

Our January author of the month, Kathleen Boucher, is an award winning author, certified lifestyle coach, a certified neurocoach, a certified stress and wellness consultant, and a registered nurse! Kathleen’s book 9 Ways to Empower Tweens #Lifeskills is a self help book for tweens, teens and adults alike! The book focuses on practical life skills. These life skills include how to have more confidence when presenting in class, the importance of work ethic, a simple writing technique to help deal with anger, and more. There are exercises at the end of each chapter that tweens can use to integrate what they’ve learned. Kathleen has been featured in many articles and blogs, on top of receiving high praise from industry professionals like IndieReader!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a registered nurse working in an Intensive Care Unit full time, an award-winning children’s author, lifestyle coach, neurocoach and stress & wellness consultant. Want to learn more about Kathleen, click here! 

In 2014, I wondered if there was something else I could do to help people. I prayed for guidance. Two weeks later, I remember sitting bolt upright at 0300 am in the morning.  The voice inside my head indicated that I should write children’s books. So I did.

2. What inspired you to write your book?

I want to help parents and teachers with techniques that helped me raise my children.  I am told that adults find these strategies useful as well. Bonus!

3. How have your personal experiences influenced your book?

My son was very active and had a hard time focusing on homework when he was in elementary school. I did some research that showed that with intense focus, one could bend time and get more done. For example, have you ever crammed for an exam and have gotten a lot of studying done? 

Before we started his homework I made sure my son was rested. The idea was for him to do his least favorite subject first, and get it out of the way. I put a timer at the end of the table and made it fun by seeing how much he could get done in five minutes. Once he finished what he disliked doing, the rest of the homework flowed because he was focusing on subjects he loved. 

4. What were some of the more significant lessons you learned writing and publishing a book?

  • Write what inspires you. 
  • The first draft is only the beginning. Don’t be afraid of rewrites. In fact, expect to do more than one rewrite. 
  • Writing an outline really helped organize my thoughts. Figure out what works for you.
  • Take the time to create a rapport with an illustrator so that he or she understands your vision. Then allow them the creative freedom to be fabulous. 
  • Accept constructive criticism with grace. Step back and look at your work from a different perspective. The new angle may make your work better.
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Author of the Month Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Rave reviews and major publicity for Tim Darcy Ellis – Tellwell’s October author of the month

Tell us about yourself. 

Well, I have a busy life! I write historical fiction, I run a business and I work as a physiotherapist. I was born in Sussex, England, brought up in Surrey and now live in Sydney, Australia. I was formerly a professional archaeologist – being  graduate of the University of York, and having worked at the Museum of London in the late 1980s and early 1990s; I was also a tour guide at the British Museum. 

I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed a few careers. I qualified as a physiotherapist in London in 1998. Whilst studying for my physio degree, I worked as a chef for four years at the Covent Garden Brasserie, which is now the site of the west end apple store! I moved to Australia in 2000, the year of the Sydney Olympics; thinking that it would be a temporary move, but I have been here ever since. Currently, I have my own holistic Physiotherapy and Wellness centre (Excel Physiotherapy and Wellness) in Sydney. 

I live in Elizabeth Bay, which is in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, and I love it here. I have a partner and a dog. I love getting away from town though for ocean swimming, bushwalking and rock climbing. I’m passionate about history, archaeology and philosophy and I love the variety of media forms available now – books, audio, podcasts. Reading history and archaeology is my main relaxation and my escape. 

What inspired you to write your book?

I’ve always been a writer – be it poetry, short stories, memoir, health and wellness or just letters to the press. I had been writing a lot before I discovered my character; the day I found him was a revelation and I decided that I just had to write about him.   

That said, I discovered Juan Luis Vives by mistake. I’d never heard of him until I gave a Spanish friend in Australia a book about exiles from Spain and I thumbed through it first and found out about this incredible man. 

His life-story became my inspiration. It then became my mission to bring him back into the light and writing a novel rather than a non-fiction book allowed me to give him a human voice. As a Spanish Jew, he had to hold so much back in his academic writing and yet you can still feel the struggles that he endured. By writing in an intimate diary format, I could give the man himself a voice. That was a privilege, because Vives, forgotten by the mainstream, really contributed to making the world a better place. 

Who is Juan Luis Vives and how did you become interested in his story?

Juan Luis Vives was born to a family of Spanish Jews in Valencia in 1492. His family were faced with an excruciating choice: leave Spain permanently or stay and convert to Catholicism. The family decided to stay and convert – a decision that they would later come to regret – as one-by-one they were ‘picked-off,’ by the Spanish Inquisition, for the crime of ‘Judaising.’ He left Spain at the age of sixteen – never to return for fear of the Inquisition. He moved to Paris and then to Flanders, and he eventually came to the English (Tudor) Court of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. There he became tutor to Princess Mary and he became closely acquainted with the well-known characters of the English court such as Thomas More, Anne Boleyn and Cardinal Wolsey. 

Vives spoke about ideas that were quite revolutionary in the 1520s. He was a great scholar, writer and teacher. His ideas encompassed the rights and equality of women, the necessity for peace over war – at all costs – and the cessation of sedition, oppression and persecution. He advocated for state-funded schools, skill-training and hospitals for all; regardless of class. Vives hated lofty, pretentious academic speech.  He studied his subjects closely, and he spoke about syndromes such as ‘post-traumatic stress disorder,’ and addiction to such an extent that he has been named the Godfather of Psychoanalysis (Zilboorg, 1941). He also wrote about care of the animals – that they experienced emotions and had memories – quite revolutionary for his day.

All the while, he was struggling with great internal conflict. He was always keeping one step ahead of the Spanish Inquisition and staying out of danger himself. He was also trying to help his family and his people, who were still in Spain. 

I have created this educational video for YouTube to explain, in greater detail and depth, the man who was Juan Luis Vives.

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Author Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Indie Author Celebration

Congratulations to our authors for winning major awards and receiving huge publicity including radio and podcast interviews, newspaper, web and social media features.

Jerome Bourgault
The Perpetual Now

Exciting news for sci-fi/fantasy author Jerome Bourgault whose debut novel, The Perpetual Now, has been named a finalist in the cross-genre category of the 2020 International Book Awards! Winners will be announced in a few weeks.

It is a huge and completely unexpected honour to be included in the company of so many talented, successful and recognized authors in both mainstream and independent publishing. My thanks to everyone at Tellwell Talent, and my readers who have shown so much support!

– Jerome Bourgault, author of The Perpetual Now

Elaine Alec
Calling My Spirit Back

Elaine Alec is making headlines for her newly released book Calling My Spirit Back. She’s been featured on the CBC, First Nations Forward, the National Observer, Living Fiercely and Sober is Dope! Podcasts. 

It’s a journey of understanding and embracing your story and sharing it with others. We can’t expect others to share their stories, their hearts, their thoughts, and their truths if we are not willing to do the same.

Elaine Alec, author of Calling My Spirit Back
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