Tag Archives: tellwell success stories

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 Success - In the media, awards, reviews

In the News and Receiving Excellent Reviews – Tellwell Author Success Stories

Good Morning, Blake: Growing Up Autistic and Being Okay

by Blake “Crash” Priddle

Read IndieReader’s interview with Blake “Crash” Priddle, author of Good Morning, Blake, where he also shares his advice for other indie authors.

Blake also had great interviews in the National Autism Canada podcast, Calgary City News, and CTV News!

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?


I feel that others on the spectrum, their families and those in their lives like teachers, might find comfort in many familiar issues autistic people face. Some may be inspired from reading what I’ve gone through, survived and thrived.  Readers who have little or no experience about autism (besides Rain Man or the Good Doctor), will gain compassion for folks that are ‘different’.

Blake “Crash” Priddle, author
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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 Success - In the media, awards, reviews

Celebrating Tellwell authors in the media, award-winners, bestsellers, and more!

Tellwell-Author-Celebrations

From book launches to rave reviews to bestsellers, Tellwell authors have done it again! We’re always thrilled to celebrate author success!

Author of Immigration, Race and Survival Cecily Alexander was featured in The Caribbean Camera!

This memoir is a collection of many journals she has kept over the years. She uses journalling as a way of working through feelings and emotions and of learning from her experiences. She has had a career as a dietitian for over forty years. Her career has included academic writing, and she has one previous book publication: a book on nutrition and weight loss called “Just Eat Less: Easier said than done.” She has a master’s in business administration specializing in organizational behaviour in addition to her nutrition degree from the University of Guelph. She has taught at both the university and college levels. She lives in Southern Ontario.

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

Tellwell Author Success Stories

Tellwell authors receiving awards, rave reviews, making bestsellers lists and appearing in the news. Congratulations!

If My Oak Tree Could Speak by Rachel Greening

Tellwell children’s author Rachel Greening’s book If My Oak Tree Could Speak tied for second place for Best Picture Book (5 and under), and received an honourable mention in the poetry category for the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards!


Where did Luna go? & Luna Loves Biscuits by Stephanie Hewitt

Stephanie Hewitt’s books Where did Luna go? and Luna Loves Biscuits – received honorable mentions from the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards in the new author – fiction category. Congratulations!


Sushi & Samosas : A Trip of Tasty Transformations by Rishma Govani

Author Rishma Govani is getting lots of positive hype for her book Sushi & Samosas. Check out some of her interviews here: katethismomloves &
twosouls.onejourney

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

Tellwell author success stories – awards, media, and reviews!

Our authors have been making headlines all month long! From winning awards to securing interviews, to generating reviews – our authors are getting their names out there! Great work, everyone!


Awards

Blood and Silver

by Vali Benson

Vali Benson’s Blood and Silver was also named a winner in the 2021 San Francisco Book Festival, for two categories; History and Young Adult.

Nine Ways to Empower Tweens #Lifeskills

by Kathleen Boucher

Kathleen Boucher’s Nine Ways to Empower Tweens #Lifeskills does it again! She is a finalist in the Young Adult Non-Fiction Category of the 2021 International Book Awards sponsored by the American Book Fest! 

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Author of the Month

How Miami-based children’s author Jennifer Segarra gained traction for her children’s book!

For May’s author of the month, we are celebrating Miami-based author, Jennifer S. Segarra!

Over the last few months, Jennifer has successfully been featured on a number of influential #bookstagram pages like @the_bookish_mind and @nerdybibliophilee, interviewed by notable outlets like KidlioMag, Children’s Literature and the Reading With Your Kids podcast, and has connected with readers all over the world through her social media!

Author Jennifer S. Segarra with her children’s hit – El Lechón Choncho otherwise known as Choncho the Pig

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Jennifer S. Segarra. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. My parents immigrated to this country when they were young. My father is from Cuba and my mother is from Puerto Rico but also half Filipino.

I am a married mother of two beautiful children, and have an Italian Mastiff fur baby. I am bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. My husband is from Cuba and we have been married for 15 years.  

I love to cook, travel, discover new things, and LOVE reading books!

What inspired you to write El Lechón Choncho otherwise known as Choncho the Pig?

Since I was a young girl, I always loved reading, and this may sound quite weird but I loved being given assignments where I needed to write book reports, essays and stories in my own words. However, my mother always told me the story, since I was a little girl, of her favorite family pet pig named Choncho. I always told her she needed to make this a children’s book.

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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 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 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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