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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

 
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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

 

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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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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I’ve Made Him Not Very Nice

Ross Butler Studio

Courtesy of Tourism Oxford

Have you ever just escaped your day as it wound down? Slipped the seatbelt and jumped out of the car before it stopped?

I have. Not often, it’s true, but I have. And I did just that this past Monday. The sun had slipped behind a spread of white-gray clouds and my muse went on strike. No more proofing, nor writing of guest blog posts, nor answering e-mails.

I did one more thing, though. I looked up the data on the Ross Butler museum to see if it was open and it was. Just for another hour, though.

My guy and I dashed the ten minutes to the turn off, south of Woodstock, found the narrow gravel lane and wound our way past the golf course, wonderful goldenrod and purple thistle ushering us on.

“Did we miss a turn?” my husband asked, but a house appeared and another showed in the background. We parked near it, climbed out of the car and heard a shout.

“Elaine!” It was David, son of the renowned Ross Butler and descendant of famed loyalist, Colonel John Butler.

David and I have become acquainted since my first book, The Loyalist’s Wife, came out a year and a half ago. When he came to my house to pick up a copy he told me that not only are we both descended from members of Butler’s Rangers (which I knew), but we are also related through my mother’s side of the family.

The first thing I did was apologize to him for the way I had characterized his ancestor. “I’ve made him not very nice,” I said, something I needed to do to enhance the story. And I’ve carried that into the sequel, The Loyalist’s Luck, for the same reason. “I needed to create tension,” I told David, “but I hope you understand my personal awe for the man and what he did.” David assured me he knew Butler had two sides to his character and we proceeded into the museum.

Ross Butler’s life as an artist was prolific and varied. A true pioneer he plunged his fingers into many pies. This Wikipedia article, one of many references on the Internet, lists a few of his accomplishments. He was commissioned to do paintings of standard breeds of many farm animals and I remember the paintings in my one-room schoolhouse when I was a child. His contract to do enough for all of the schools in Ontario was halted because of the second world war.

In 1953 he was invited to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation as a recognition of his stature in the Commonwealth and probably partly because of his statue of the Queen on her horse which he fashioned out of butter for the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Even the last painting which he worked on in his eighties shows his amazing ability at rendering wildlife. He wanted to show what his farm looked like back before all the major highways and, indeed, the city of Woodstock. David’s commentary on this and other fascinating artifacts enhanced our visit. It’s always the stories, isn’t it?

So, yes. I’ve made Colonel John Butler not very nice in my books but his descendants are both nice and multi-talented. Thanks for the tour, David!

Should you care to journey to this studio, here is the contact information from Tourism Oxford’s site where you’ll find much more to see in this historic county.

Contact Information
Ross Butler Studio
708 Pattullo Ave., R.R. #4
Woodstock, ON
N4S 7V8
519-456-8155

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 not far off. 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 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.

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.

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction

Available in October: The Loyalist’s Luck, the second book in The Loyalist Trilogy

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

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon here.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 17, 2014 in General

 

How to Make History Live and Breathe Again

The Loyalists' Luck Bookmark1

This past weekend my little part of the world banded together and presented a magnificent slice of our history in a way which quite caught my attention. Two hundred years ago, when the War of 1812 was at its height, Oxford on the Thames suffered two attacks led by the famous American sympathizer, Andrew Westbrook. This disgruntled man led American soldiers right to mills, homes, farms and military leaders to burn out his neighbours, even setting alight his own farm before scurrying back across the border with  his family in tow.

Saturday and Sunday’s events included re-enactments, period displays, free museum tours, a play about the famous Tecumseh, cricket lessons, and even  burnings of buildings to commemorate like activities during the War of 1812. Preacher. Enoch Burdick, played by Rev. Jim Evans, held a Sunday morning church service which was followed by a well-attended replay of Westbrook’s attacks on this area. It was pointed out that the mill, which was the main target of the attacks, stood mere feet away from where we spectators lounged on the grass in the sun and watched the proceedings. If only the ground could tell its stories.

I so enjoyed everything presented but especially the private conversations I shared with many of the re-enacters taking part. Their historical knowledge and their fervour for what they do were thrilling, especially to an historical writer such as myself. They know details about clothing and the way of life back then which fascinate me and I never know when I’ll hear some tidbit which sparks my imagination.

While the marking of the War of 1812 has been going on for two years now, I still found things I haven’t done to commemorate it. In the Route 1812 Map & Guide which I picked up at Beachville Museum, much of Southern Ontario is mapped out with pertinent historical spots to visit and the trails (as they were in the day) to get there. I know my husband and I will be following these in the next few weeks, whenever we can.

You can see some of this on the website, www.westerncorridor1812.com. Just remember that this is our history but by no means is it our present-day situation. Canada and the United States went on to forge a friendly relationship which boasts between our two countries the longest undefended border in the world. We are living proof that differences can be solved and peace attained.

This week, as I put the final touches on the second book in the Loyalist trilogy, The Loyalist’s Luck,  I, too, am revisiting our history of two hundred years ago. Here is the blurb about this novel, scheduled for release in October:

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 not far off. 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 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.

 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.

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd

 

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction

Available in October: The Loyalist’s Luck, the second book in The Loyalist Trilogy

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

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon here.

 
 

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5 Benefits of Reading a Great Book

One of my Book Journals

One of my Book Journals

Just now I’m getting back into reading wonderful fiction. Last week I finally read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and currently Paris by Edward Rutherfurd is occupying my evenings.

I know, I know. I’m an author and should be reading all the time.  Well, I am. It’s just that much of what I read is books about writing and research books for my novels.

The irony is huge, isn’t it? Before I started turning out novels, I read voraciously. No matter how many essays I marked or lessons I prepared, I always read fiction at night for at least thirty minutes before turning out the light. And now, as often as not, at night I play with my iPad for about ten minutes and then sleep.

So when do I read fiction?

Well, sometimes I don’t. And that saddens me. I’ve even stopped writing comments about all the books I read in my book journal.

This summer I decided to change all that. The tall stack by on my night table just got so large I had to do something about it. And, guess what! I have a new habit. In the afternoon after my computer has lost its appeal and my eyes start to flutter, I find my book and the couch and I read. The world opens up just for me.

5 Benefits of Reading a Great Book

  1. I learn about something or somewhere I never knew before. Rutherfurd’s books on Ireland were wonderful and made my trip there so much richer. I’ll never forget leaning over the case in Trinity College library which held the actual Book of Kells, illuminated by monks in ancient times.
  2. Whatever is happening in my life takes a back seat to the riveting story I find in the pages. A wonderful release that is, especially when kids are hollering or televisions blaring. I just go off by myself and escape into another world.
  3. Reading good books makes for great conversation when socializing. And, of course, now that I’m speaking to so many groups about my own books, the titles of favourite books often come up. Being able to discuss a book I’ve loved with others does two things: it shows me others who like what I like, and it often teaches me something new about a book I’ve read.
  4. As a writer I am always watching to see how another author has worked his/her behind-the-scenes magic to create literature. And this is a learning thing for me, often showing me how I might solve one of my own writing problems. Oh, I don’t mean I plagiarize, but the techniques are there to be learned.
  5. I love to see words or phrases an author has used in an unusual way. These add texture to the story every bit as much as the plot, characters, and setting. Of course the trick is to use my own creativity and do something unique in my own writing without having those phrases interrupt my storytelling.

Now that I’ve reminded you of the glories of reading, I must go and pick up Paris again.

 

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

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon here.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in General

 

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