indie author

Hello Readers

Today’s Indie Spotlight is shining on John McDonell, author of The Orphans of Tarnalin. Check out his Guest Post, and his book below and be sure to enter his Giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of The Orphans of Tarnalin (INT).

Guest Post

Hello, I am delighted to have an opportunity to guest blog on Cover2Cover. Thanks so much Rochelle 🙂

This is my very first guest blog so I am just a little bit thrilled! Up until a two months ago I was a reader, writer, but not an author. That changed when I self-published on amazon on May 14th, or 15th. (The time-zone thing still has me baffled as to which day I actually published.) I thought I would write few words about my journey to being an author for those of you who have thought about making the leap to writing and publishing a book.

Frame of mind is everything:

 I started writing books several times throughout my life that I never finished. It wasn’t until I started reading accounts of authors who had actually ‘done it’ or ‘made it’, that I was finally able to start writing and stay motivated and, dare I say, reckless enough, to finish my book.  At the time my work and schedule allowed me to walk for about an hour and a half every afternoon. I had recently acquired a kindle and was quite taken with listening to books on it during these walks. On a whim, I bought a few books about writers and listened or read many accounts of people who had become authors through all sorts of adversity. It gave me a baseline to work with and it actually showed me that the only thing holding me back was myself. Gone were the excuses I had self-imposed.

Try, try again:

So I started writing that summer. I wrote about twenty or thirty hesitant pages, but still did not have enough faith in myself to go further. As a writer it is not uncommon to read and re-read your work and develop a love-hate relationship with it. So I read something that I wrote but didn’t like and gave up. About six months later, after reading more books that motivated me to write, I began writing Orphans of Tarnalin. Of course I didn’t know at the time what it would become; I didn’t even have an outline. I simply began typing on my laptop one evening in January 2012 in my living room. After a few hours I had the beginning of a story. I had learned enough from other writers to start scheduling a daily routine of writing. That first month I wrote in the evenings after work, but I soon found that I was so tired that it was becoming a struggle. By the next month I had established a 5am wake up and wrote for two hours before the kids had to get up for school. Getting up early to write pretty much forces you to commit to your project. That was when I really started to become productive and each day that I sat at the computer reinforced my conviction.

Changing your life:

At the time I was unhappily managing our business and was really looking for something that would give me some satisfaction and pay the bills. (I’ll let you know if the ‘paying the bills’ part works out). I was being productive. I had given up all things internet, other than research and filled that hole in my life where I had been spending a lot of time essentially doing nothing online (gaming) and replacing it with writing, which was a measurable and tangible thing. It made me happy.

Learning Curve:

So I basically spent a year and a half writing the first draft to Orphans of Tarnalin and then the real learning began. I hired an editor and she taught me so much about presenting a good story. I thought editing would be mainly about grammar and typos but that is really only a small part of it. Then, after lots and lots of research I decided to self-publish, mainly because I have worked for myself for the last 17 years and like that sort of independence.

I had to learn a lot very quickly when I decided to do that in February of this year. If you are interested in self-publishing, you will need to research building a website, cover design, cover illustration, formatting e-books and print books not to mention marketing and social media. I staggered through it all but now I have hired someone to help me tweak everything. Nevertheless I have to say that I am happy that I did it. There are so many cool milestones, like seeing your book on amazon, or receiving your first box of print books and having a book launch, where people actually ask for my signature. Those things are great but the best is when someone tells me that they really liked my book. It is so nice to think that I actually entertained someone for a while.

I have sold around 130 e-books on amazon so far (as of July 2016) and couple of dozen print copies so I have only recovered a fraction of what I invested financially, but that is to be expected being a new author and all. Still, it keeps me humble to know that a bunch of people have read what I have written. If you have latent writing tendencies, I hope this helped.


Orphans of Tarnalin

I am very proud of Orphans of Tarnalin and am hard at work on book two, where there will be many reunions between friends and enemies. I promise to reveal a whole slew of answers to the dangling questions from Book One as well. Happy Reading 🙂

Title: The Orphans of Tarnalin (Bloodline Magic #1)orphans of tarnalin
Author: John McDonell
Publication Date: June 3, 2016

Goodreads Summary:

Three young orphans, living on the streets of Tarnalin find themselves fleeing for their lives after pulling off a perfect heist. Forced to flee on a ship, they find their adventure has only just begun. Little do they know that the incidental theft has triggered a series of events that will lead them across a vast wilderness, where they must combat the elements and face the intrepid beings known as Leks. They gain allies who reveal that all is not as it seems in their world nor, indeed, with themselves. Tragedy and loss plague them as they fight for their very survival; all while echoes of war are brewing to the south.
Forbidden magic, lost heritage and ultimate sacrifice are instrumental threads in Orphans of Tarnalin, creating a fortune-twisting, tale like no other. In a world on the brink; one of them holds the key to everything. A key that comes at a fierce cost.


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About The Author:

john mcdonell author photo [18872]

John was born in 1968, in Nova Scotia. He now resides in Hanwell, New Brunswick with his lovely wife Lesley and two wonderful sons, Angus and Alex. He has been a forest technician in British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick and spent fourteen years helping his wife manage their veterinary practice in Nova Scotia, all of which has given him the experience to write about people and their relationship to the land and one another. He enjoys playing guitar and mandolin. Orphans of Tarnalin is his first book.

Contact information:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads


  • $20 Amazon Gift Card + a paperback copy of The Orphans of Tarnalin
  • open internationally
  • ends Aug 5, 2016

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