10 Ways to Help Your Kids and Grandkids Become Lifelong Readers

IMG_7304We writers always smile when someone buys our books. Having other eyes on our words is a great reward, maybe the best, for all the hard work that goes into making an idea or a bunch of ideas into an actual book that’s out there for the world to discover. And, of course, we have a vested interest in encouraging people to read. Why not start with our own children and grandchildren?

10 Ways to Help Your Kids and Grandkids Become Lifelong Readers

  1. Read to them from an early, early age. Some even say while they are still in the womb but I never went quite that far. I pictured myself sitting on the couch reading a story to my grandson while he was still in my daughter-in-law’s belly and that just felt weird. :-)

  2. Write a story yourself using photos of you and your spouse in the book. Create it on photo album software. We did that when our two grandchildren were about a year old. Both of them loved the big bear at our house. The book became Where Is Bear? and the children heard it many, many nights at bedtime, especially our granddaughter who lives so far away from us.Where Is Bear? 1

  3. Always make it fun. Let them stop you and ask about the pictures, why Uncle Kevin’s name is in the front of the old Dr. Seuss book, or if chickens lay green eggs. This is the best time. They open up to you and you see a lighted pathway right into their thoughts. Wonderful.

  4. Make a big deal about treasuring books. No, the kids don’t get to rip out pages or colour them. Run your hand over the words with reverence as your voice creates a magical imaginary world for their little heads to grasp. I stop on almost every page and ask questions. What would it be like to have duck feet? What is a wocket? Is there one in my pocket? What’s a grinch?

  5. Make a tradition out of reading and rereading a treasured Christmas book. If your tradition is something else, use a book about that.

  6. Go to the library and let them pick books. My daughter’s first library book was one of Beatrix Potter’s and she picked it because it was so small. She was about three so size was a big deal. Appley Dappley, I think it was. Now my daughter takes her daughter to the library and they bring home stacks of books to be treasured every night. She’s into books with fewer pictures now and at bedtime always wants another chapter. The kaleidoscope of action pictures runs in her head and, each night, she can hardly wait to start the movie.

  7. Let them see you read and treasure your reading time. Children ape our behaviour as we all know and preserving your own reading time is a good lesson for them. My mother used to go into the “parlour” every day after lunch and sit and read. We were not to bother her for that time as she transported herself to worlds within the pages. No wonder I became such a reader myself.

  8. Give books for gifts on all occasions. With the wealth of publications out there, finding something suitable is easy. Rather, limiting my purchases is the problem! Sign your child or grandchild up for a book or magazine subscription. I remember my kids having an OWL magazine come every month and, before that, a new Dr. Seuss came once a month. As they got older we had Time-Life Series books about famous people, all with a good story and a positive role model. They loved those books and we loved reading them with them.

  9. As the little ones start to recognize words and rhythms, stop at a pivotal repeated word and let them say it. This works especially if the word is the rhyming word at the end of a sentence. And if you draw their eyes to that word, soon they’ll actually be reading it. Such fun!

  10. And when your first published book arrives, take a picture with yourself and the book but also one with  your granddaughter and your book. She was part of the celebration for The Loyalist’s Wife as the picture above attests.

So, folks, it’s the holiday season, perfect book-buying time. HINT: Buy Christmas-themed books certainly but remember to buy books that go well all year as the holiday ones are only out for a month or maybe two.

And enjoy the time with the fresh new mind of the child you love.

P.S. If you don’t have kids of your own, go to the library and join a program to read to kids. Or go to an adult literacy class and help someone learn to read. The gift of reading is huge.

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book 1 of the Loyalist trilogy

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd

The Loyalist’s Luck, Book 2 of the Loyalist trilogy


Posted by on November 19, 2014 in General, Readers


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How to help Indie Authors – A Primer

How to help Indie Authors – A Primer

Elaine Cougler:

P.C. Zick has some great ideas for helping authors get the word out about their books. If you’d like to help me do that, and I hope you do, Patricia makes the whole process simple. Thanks to her and thanks to my readers who have left and will leave a review for The Loyalist’s Wife and The Loyalist’s Luck! :-)

Originally posted on P.C. Zick:

Help an IndieHow to help Indie Authors – A Primer for family, friends, fans, and other Indie Writers

It’s not easy taking the route of Indie Author or any route as an author. The field is crowded, and it’s hard for readers to sift through it all. So in addition to writing, most of us Indies spend a great deal of time promoting our work. Most of us try not to annoy our friends and family, but it’s inevitable that many of them will see our promotional stuff. So as we move into the holiday season, I’d like to give some advice to anyone associated with an author. Also, there’s a little bit of advice for other authors as well. I wish you peace and relaxation during the coming season. Take the time to read a book, maybe even from an Indie Author in your life.

Besides buying the books of your…

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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in General


What’s a Blog Tour and Why Do Writers Use Them?

04_The Loyalist's Luck_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

This week and next, my second book in the Loyalist trilogy is touring on the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour. A few writers in my LinkedIn group wanted to know more about blog tours.

What’s a Blog Tour?

Loads of bloggers cover the Internet with amazing blog posts on their blogs. This is my blog, On Becoming a Wordsmith. Through it I have met lots of writers, readers, and other publishing world people. If you want to start an online presence for your writing, a blog is a vehicle you might use. Of course the ultimate goal is to find a following for your writing.

If you don’t have a blog yet, now is a good time to start one. Mine is hosted by WordPress and I quite like that platform. It has lots of great templates and widgets so each person’s site can be personalized. My first blog was on Blogger and it worked quite well, too, especially for a beginner. Both of these are free versions.

Look at all the blogs other people have, especially in areas like yours. I’m a writer of historical fiction so I gravitated to blogs who talked about that. If you look at the tour list below, you’ll see that a lot of them are historical fiction blogs. Having my posts there helps me find READERS of my genre. This is why Amy Bruno’s Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour was my choice for this tour. Take a moment and click on the link to check out the list of blogs.

Once you have your own blog and are ready to promote your book you can set up your own blog tour. It’s just a matter of organizing sites to host you over a week, two weeks, whatever you like. Or you can pay someone who already has a huge list of appropriate sites to do it for you. With two historical novels out, I chose the latter as marketing, speaking, promoting, and researching book three take up all my time. Amy makes my life much easier. There are a few things you can do on these blogs. I mentioned four briefly in a previous post, The Loyalist’s Luck is on Tour!

Four Ways to Showcase Your Book/Writing on a Blog Tour.

  1. The blogger reviews your book and hopefully posts the review on Goodreads and maybe Amazon or wherever your books are for sale. This allows readers to easily buy your books. You wish for 5-star reviews but 4 is good, too. It’s important here to pick bloggers whose style and personality you like. You want to be sure they’ll like your work.

  2. The blogger interviews you and posts both the questions and the answers on their site. Of course all of these bloggers will post links to your website, your books on Amazon, your picture, your book cover, and many other links.

  3. You write a guest blog post for the bloggers who choose that. I always use a topic which somehow relates to something in my novel, and then I include a segment from the book which relates. (I’ve included a template below you might use to set this all up, putting in your own information.)

  4. Some bloggers use the term spotlight which just means they use all the information you give them about you and your book and put a spotlight on you.

With most of these different types of blog tour exposure, having a template already made up with all your links, pictures, etc. will save you hours. For my present tour I’m doing 6 guest blog posts and I set up a template for them. Notice I’ve put everything I want in each post and only have to change the novel quote and the post itself.

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Loyalist’s Luck by Elaine Cougler

[blogger intro here]

Post Title

Quote from The Loyalist’s Luck

Blog Post

Goodreads Button

When the Revolutionary War turns in favor of the Americans, John and Lucy flee across the Niagara River with almost nothing. They begin again in Butlersburg, a badly supplied British outpost surrounded by endless trees and rivers, and the mighty roar of the giant falls nearby. He is off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she is left behind with her young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy—her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy.

 With vivid scenes of heartbreak and betrayal, heroism and shattered hopes, Elaine Cougler takes us into the hearts and homes of Loyalists still fighting for their beliefs, and draws poignant scenes of families split by political borders. The Loyalist’s Luck shows us the courage of ordinary people who, in perilous times, become extraordinary.

Praise for book one, The Loyalist’s Wife:

“….absolutely fascinating….Cougler doesn’t hold back on the gritty realities of what a couple might have gone through at this time, and gives a unique view of the Revolutionary War that many might never have considered.”  Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews.

“….an intriguing story”                                             A Bookish Affair

“I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story.”       Book Lovers Paradise

“Elaine’s storytelling is brave and bold.”                 Oh, for the Hook of a Book


Book 1: The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon

Book 2: The Loyalist’s Luck on Amazon


 A lifelong reader and high school teacher, Elaine found her passion for writing once her family was grown. She loves to read history for the stories of real people reacting to their world. Bringing to life the tales of Loyalists in the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 is very natural as Elaine’s personal roots are in those struggles, out of which arose both Canada and the United States.

Elaine Cougler, summer 2011







GIVEAWAY— US AND CANADA, The Loyalist’s Luck in e-book format, Kindle or Kobo.

I hope this helps everyone but especially those new to this format and these procedures. Feel free to borrow my template but make it your own with your links, your data. Use it to increase your online presence and hopefully further book sales. And please leave a comment!



Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Authors, Book Reviews, FAQ's, Marketing Books


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The Loyalist’s Luck is on Tour!

Come join me for the next two weeks (Nov. 10-Nov. 28) as I and my new book, The Loyalist’s Luck, tour some exciting and informative blogs. Reviews, interviews, guest blog posts, and even a spotlight await. If you like historical fiction you’ll want to check these out. Oh, and you’ll get a chance to win a copy of The Loyalist’s Luck if you comment.

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The Loyalist’s Luck Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 10
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 11
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Wednesday, November 12
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, November 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, November 14
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, November 17
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, November 20
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 21
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, November 24
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, November 26
Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, November 28
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book


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5 Answers to Writing Questions


From The Loyalist’s Luck launch party. Great cake!

Today I’m being interviewed on Patricia Zick’s illustrious blog. Here is the link where you can read Patricia’s questions and my answers. I bare my soul. Well, about writing anyhow. I even mention Stephen Leacock Medal winner, Terry Fallis, and his contribution to my writing. Come join us now as I answer her five questions.

Author Wednesday on P.C. Zick’s site.

Voting is going on as I write this for the People’s Choice Toronto International Book Fair Self-Published Awards and my first book, The Loyalist’s Wife, is a finalist. Thanks to all those who have already voted to help me out. Voting closes on Friday and the winners are announced  on Nov. 16 in Toronto. I’ll be there! Hoping to win but happy to be nominated–never thought I’d say those words!

If you’d like to join in the voting fun, come along. Here’s the link. It only takes a minute.

And if you were naughty and didn’t click on Patricia’s site above for my interview, please do it now.




Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Authors, Awards


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We Had a Book Party!

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.inddIT’S HERE, IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE!

My days are mostly spent in my office sitting at my computer, moving my projects along at what always seems more like the turtle’s pace rather than the hare’s. In fact, the more I’ve sat here over the past seven years, the more I’m even coming to look like that turtle! (Hence my new walking regime!)

In June, 2013, my publishing company launched The Loyalist’s Wife and I was ecstatic. So much work, so many miles traveled, so many people met, places visited, and ideas acted upon. And, finally, a book to hold in my hand.

And before that book was even published I was hard at work on its sequel, The Loyalist’s Luck. This month of October has been crazy busy as we launched number two in the trilogy. In one fell swoop, I went from a mark of 33% to one of 67% for finishing the Loyalist trilogy. (Once a teacher, always a teacher.)


Here are some pictures from the formal launch here in beautiful Woodstock, Ontario.

Fellow author and person extraordinaire, Sharon Clare, Helped me out by reading a section from my new novel. David Butler, an amazingly gifted person in his own right–the man can write!–happens to be descended directly from Colonel John Butler of the famous Butler’s Rangers. He figures in both of my Loyalist novels so far. David said a few kind words of welcome and congratulations. You can learn about David’s famous father, the artist Ross Butler, here.


Laughing at a small slip up I made at the podium.

Laughing at a small slip up I made at the podium.

Sharon Clare expertly reading.

Sharon Clare expertly reading.

Sue Garner hosted and read, her sassy smile flashing throughout.

Sue Garner hosted and read, her sassy smile flashing throughout.


We had to have cake! Thanks, Ron, for arranging this and all the other details.

This book table had to be refilled several times as people bought a lot of books.

This book table had to be refilled several times as people bought a lot of books.

Joyce and Donna welcomed everyone to the festivities.

Joyce and Donna welcomed everyone to the festivities.

Book club friends going through a copy. So wonderful that they came!

Book club friends going through a copy. So wonderful that they came!

We drew names for two free books. I was so happy to see the winners: Olive, my dear friend, and Keith, one of my many wonderful brothers.

We drew names for two free books. I was so happy to see the winners: Olive, my dear friend, and Keith, one of my many wonderful brothers.

There were many more at my launch, including my 93-year-old aunt and a carload of cousins from as far away as Miami who completely surprised me. They drove all the way from South Carolina. So, as any reader can see, my heart is full. All the hard work has paid off when family, friends, people I’ve met over the last year and a half on speaking gigs all show up for the new book. As well, people I don’t know who joined us just thrilled me.

This is a small word to contain the huge joy I feel but here it is:


See you all in two years when The Loyalist Legacy has its debut!

Next week this blog will be back to writing about historical fiction, wonderful readers and tips for writers. Come join us!

The Loyalist’s Luck on Amazon

The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon

also available on Kobo and in many fine bookstores.

PHOTO CREDITS: Sherry Isaac, Brian Jackson


Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Marketing Books, Publishing


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Carolinian Forest, Reins, and Cicadas: Great Proof Readers.

Emerald Lake, Yukon, from my recent Alaska cruise. Just to showcase a beautiful part of North America.

Emerald Lake, Yukon, from my recent Alaska cruise. Just to showcase a beautiful part of North America.

Of course all writers know you have to get other eyes on your work. We hear that over and over. But what are some of the reasons for this well-worn piece of advice?

We writers don’t necessarily know everything. A surprising thing, I know, but I’ve learned the truth of it first hand and I dare say you have as well.

Early in the writing of my second book I took a master’s workshop with the incomparable Barbara Kyle. It was rewarding for the useful information Barbara doled out to her eager students but also for the comments of other attendees.

One of the comments I got was from someone who knew the Niagara peninsula area well (setting of the second book in the Loyalist trilogy.). She lives there. And she was the reason I changed my tree varieties to Carolinian forest trees. I’ve forgotten her name but not her knowledge.

My brother-in-law read some of my first book, The Loyalist’s Wife, for me and I was glad of his help. From him I learned that reins are what those riding horses use but lines are what those driving horses use. Thank you, Steve!

Another alert and knowledgeable beta reader alerted me to my error in using cicadas instead of crickets. To be honest, I just liked the sound of the word. Turns out most cicadas don’t sing at night so I changed my insects to crickets. They certainly sing at night and you usually have a tough time finding them in your house when they’re singing their little heads off. I recall a summer night when, as a teenager, I almost demolished a cricket once I finally found it, I was so tired of its racket while I was trying to read.

Next week is the launch of The Loyalist’s Luck, the second book in the Loyalist trilogy. Many of  you will be with me here in my home city for the unveiling of the print copies and I look forward to hosting you all. The e-versions and web sales will be available very soon as well and I’ll announce them here. It’s been a long journey, at times joyous and at other times arduous but I’m happy to say the final product is looking great. For all those who’ve been yearning to see what happens next to John and Lucy, the wait is over!

Coming Next Week!

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd
John and Lucy escape the Revolutionary War to the unsettled British territory across the Niagara River with almost nothing. In the untamed wilderness they must fight to survive, he, off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she, left behind with their young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy–her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy. With John’s reputation besmirched, she must walk a thin line depending as she does on the British army, and Sergeant Crawford, for her family’s very survival.

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction

Available Now: The Loyalist’s Wife, the first book in The Loyalist Trilogy!

by Elaine Cougler, winner of the WCDR 2014 Pay It Forward Scholarship

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.

With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife here.

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Posted by on October 9, 2014 in General, Readers


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