Monthly Archives: January 2020

From Pen to Print: Advice from the Author of ALLERGY BOOKS FOR KIDS!

From Pen to Print: Advice from Michelle Nel

From Pen to Print: Advice from Michelle Nel

I recall as a child wandering the library stacks, the pile of books in my arms growing steadily, teetering ever precariously. Author has been a title I have yearned for since childhood. Albeit not for lack of trying, each attempt to write was quickly foregone as frustration would ensue. I wouldn’t call it writer’s block as much as an underlying lack of direction or purpose. A turn in life’s path brought forth my passion to write as well of what to write. Navigating life with my son’s multiple anaphylactic food allergies has inspired my journey of ‘author’ … an entrepreneurship penned from passion.

In search of a creative manner in which to share allergy awareness, my mind began to reel with an unremitting onslaught of rhyming words. Penning each phrase before forgotten, I would frequently jump from bed or stop mid-street to scribble on a scrap of paper or the palm of my hand.

Once my stories were written, I then faced the challenge of bringing them from pen to print. With most publishers only accepting submissions from pre-published authors a scenario is created similar to that of ‘chicken before the egg’.

Click here to buy My Immune System Needs Glasses

Click here to buy My Immune System Needs Glasses

With time and the test of patience, I was unwavering in my belief that all would unfold as it should. Dismayed, but yet determined, I posted an online plea with an allergy parent support group. In my search for an illustrator (or anyone with an artistic inkling), unbeknownst to me right there amidst my allergy moms was Jennifer Terry, artist and graphic designer from Colorado, USA.

For five years now, Jennifer and I have worked together, our partnership as seamless as our vision. Jen and I have never met nor video chatted and we have seldom texted (as I do not have US data on my phone). It has been with only intermittent emails that we have created this series solely by sharing a passion, one fueled by the purpose found in sharing allergy awareness.

What advice may I offer? You must believe in the purpose of what it is you write, be mindful to measure your success only against yourself, allow openness for constructive critique (thank you Kyle Dine), and finally, follow your heart! As the dedication in my fourth books reads “ For my friends, who have been ceaseless in their support, offered kind critiques, as well graciously gifted me their time, talent and technical abilities. To pursue one’s passion requires an intrinsic belief in its plausibility and purpose; to know others recognize your journey’s worth is validating as well abundantly humbling”.

There is much in life I am unsure of but I know this to be true, navigating life with my son’s allergies, autism, language and learning delays has allowed me the opportunity to grow into a better and more empathetic person. He has shown me the beauty in viewing life not just outside the box, but that there is no box. And the rewards, financial gain will come, what is priceless has been the friendships found and that the books are being embraced.

It would be an Ottawa allergy dad/businessman who after reading my first 2 books (then print-on-demand) offered to pay for a full print run of each. With both high-quality work and winning customer service I have returned now four times to the same family run printers, Sotek Graphics, in Orleans, Ottawa. Last month, in order to help me hand in my book 4 printing file the owner met me at a gas station on the side of highway, an hour from his business!

Click here to buy See You Later Allergygator

Click here to buy See You Later Allergygator

During a time of single mom struggle, my gas and hotel were paid for by the owner/editor of Allergic Living Magazine, Gwen Smith, so I might attend the Canadian Anaphylaxis Conference three years ago. Gwen went as far as to allow me a corner of the A.L. Magazine table from which to share and sell my books.

I met Peter Ausland, editor of Ottawa Parenting Times Magazine through attending the Parenting Times Children’s Expo. Peter allowed me such an act of kindness I am still in awe. And when technology has had me in tears, many a time others have stepped in to offer not just a tissue but tech support.

There is no right way nor a singular road, be true to yourself and never lose sight of the passion that brought you to begin your journey with ‘words’. Along with his allergic lessons, I have instilled in my son that allergies and autism are what one has, they do not define who one is nor will they determine what one does or may become. I do not believe in disabilities only in the beauty found in different abilities.

With a love of reading bound by my fondness of books themselves, I am equally excited and honoured to sit as a new board trustee for the Augusta Township Public Library. This historical gem welcomes with its stone structure, red door, and the warmth found by stacks of books placed upon wood shelves.

Nestled near the St. Lawrence River, the Old Algonquin School was built in 1833 and was Ontario’s longest active schoolhouse at 133 years. The Augusta Township library began its conception inside the schoolhouse in 1896. Incredibly, in sharing of heritage and house, should you wish to read or hold a reception the Augusta Township Library welcomes rentals of the schoolhouse.

Click here to buy There Are No B List Allergies

Click here to buy There Are No B List Allergies

What has been the biggest benefit? Having others share how much the books have been enjoyed, that they instill equal laughter as lessons learnt. But the greatest reward has been watching my son as he reads ‘his’ books, for this journey, an entrepreneurship penned by passion, is one we take together.

I smile to think that wandering the library stacks, a pair of little arms will embrace a pile of books, mine sitting on the top teetering precariously.

Michelle and Jennifer are honoured their books are housed in the resource library at CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario). Michelle has participated in the CHEO open doors event sharing her experiences as a parent navigating allergies.

Michelle was nominated top five food allergy books by BAAAB – The (San Francisco) Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board.

Allergic Living Magazine has published a review for each book as well Michelle has several published articles in A.L. Magazine as well on the BAAAB webpage.

Michelle was interviewed on CBC radio ‘All In A Day’ by Giacomo Panico also she has participated in the Parenting Times Magazine/Ottawa Children’s Expo. 


Michelle is a member of the AOE, Ottawa Arts Council as well is a board member for the Augusta Township Public Library.

ALLERGY BOOKS FOR KIDS! Michelle and Jennifer have aspired to create books which not only engage children who have allergies, but that they might also be used as resources to aid with allergy education. Michelle and Jennifer are pleased to share the upcoming release of their final two books thus completing the Allergy Books For Kids series of six.

Michelle was born in 1972, Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan although her parents’ home was in the neighboring village of Hodgeville.  From this small prairie community Michelle’s family moved to Saskatoon, then again to Kitimat, a coastal city in Northern British Columbia. A final childhood move, taken by ship, brought Michelle to the home where she grew up in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.

In 2007 Michelle moved from Langley, B.C. to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario. Most recently Michelle now calls home to Augusta Township, a picturesque piece of rural Ontario.


TWITTER: @allergybookmom

LINKEDIN: Michelle Nel

FACEBOOK: Allergy Books For Kids – Author Michelle Nel

© Michelle Nel 2017

All guest posts from before 2017 were included in Diary of an Indie Blogger VOL 1 which can be downloaded from AmazonKobo, or E-Sentral free of charge. All other guest posts from the original PPG Publisher’s Blog have been moved here:
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3 Reasons Why You Should Write Your Life Story

write your life story

write your life story

For a long time now, you’ve been thinking you may one day write your life story. But the chatter inside your mind has you second guessing this choice. Maybe you’re waiting for someone else to give you the go-ahead—the permission—to move forward with this project. You may fear failure. Or, you may fear that your book could one day become a massive success. And maybe that level of success will shine a light on all the dark corners of your life for everyone to see, or maybe it will separate you from cherished family and friends. These fears can be daunting, whether they’re right or wrong, true or false.

3 Reasons Why You Should Write Your Life Story

So many questions may be running through your head. What will people think of me? Will they understand or will they judge me? Will this hurt or embarrass the ones I love? Should I do it?

There are a lot of articles out there on how to write your life story. But, today, I want to talk about 3 reasons why you should write this important story. I want to help you past the fear that is holding you back so you can stop procrastinating and move forward with it. After all, you’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time now. Haven’t you?

1. It’s the story you know best.

The best way to learn how to write a book is to start with a story that is most familiar to you—your own life story. There is no character research to be done. You won’t even have to create fictitious scenes out of thin air. Everything is already there at your disposal, inside your memory. All you have to do is sit down and write it.

Where do you start? Well, I recommend starting with any pivotal moment that stands out in your mind, that you’ve thought about many times. Write it down. Then write down the next moment. And then the next one. You can rearrange the timeline later, as you’ve written out more scenes from your life. The important thing is to start.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
~Louis L’Amour

Do this religiously every evening, one scene at a time. The next thing you know, you’ll have a full book written.

2. It can be therapeutic for you.

You may find, as I did, that writing out certain scenes from your life is a therapeutic way of purging negative emotions—especially when it comes to writing about traumatic experiences. As you explain the situation and your reactions to it, you may also gain new insight that helps you heal, forgive, and move forward anew.

When it comes to your life story, there are no hard and fast rules on how to structure it. Just write. Let whatever comes to mind flow out through your hands onto that computer keyboard without judgement. Write from your heart. Feel it all again as you write it. By doing so, others will feel it when they read it later on. It will be that much more impactful. Which brings me to…

3. You may just help someone.

Lisa Nichols is a bestselling author, transformational coach, and professional speaker. She’s also one of my top sources of inspiration whenever I need a boost. What I love most about Lisa is her willingness to share her life story with others—including all the times she’s fallen during her lifetime.

Lisa is unapologetic about her journey. She encourages others to stand on top of their stories rather than carrying them as heavy baggage. One of her favourite sayings is, “The truth is sexy!” And she’ll help you to realize that if her truth is okay to share openly, then so is yours. You have nothing to hide or fear or protect if you’re sharing your truth in a productive way with genuinely helpful intentions.

“There’s a calling on your life that you don’t get to shake, and its only yours. No one else has the same calling as you. … I need you to fall in front of me. Because I’m not watching you when you fall. I’m watching how you get back up again. … I need you more than you need you. When you cross my path, and I watch you keep working at it, and I watch you keep coming back, you put oxygen in my chest.” Lisa Nichols, Mindvalley keynote

That’s perhaps the greatest reason why you should write your life story. In doing so, you may just help someone else.

One Important Disclaimer

No publisher can answer all your questions for you—particularly any legal questions you may have about writing certain controversial scenes or “characters” into your personal story. It’s always best to consult a qualified trademark, copyright and entertainment attorney in your area with these types of questions. Only a lawyer can provide you with legitimate legal advice.

You might consider syndicating this content on your own blog. If you do, make sure to attribute the original source so neither of us gets dinged on the SEO front. You can do that by including this line at the bottom of the article: This content first appeared on the PPG Publisher’s Blog and has been republished here with permission.
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