Tag Archives: researching

Three Things I’m Grateful For Today

In spite of the fact that I’ve had the worst cold ever since returning from our winter break time in Hilton Head, yesterday gave me lots to smile about. I should have been posting my blog post. I wasn’t. Instead my husband and I got in the car at about 11:00 a.m. and headed for Niagara Falls.

I was at a point in the rough draft of The Loyalist’s Luck (coming this fall!) where I just needed to see the battlefield for the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, a huge battle in the War of 1812-14. The sun was shining, I had already written three pages and my partner was willing, so off we went.

Three Things I’m Grateful for Today? They all have to do with yesterday:

1. The lovely, finally warming sunshine which shone on us almost the whole time. (We did drive through a rain storm on the way home–quickly over.) I got Ron to stop the car so I could get this shot about three miles from home. Our day was ending and the sun was setting.

Yesterday's Winter Sunset

Yesterday’s Winter Sunset

I was going to take out the snow piled by the side of the highway but then I thought some people might never see this. Left it in for them. :-)

2. We walked a tour of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls under sunny skies but over fast-melting snow-covered sidewalks. Both of us ended with damp feet! And we’ll have to go back to Drummond Hill Cemetery because the snow kept us from studying the names of the soldiers buried there, right where the battle took place. I had just been studying the maneuvers that morning so standing at the top of the hill and looking over the battlefield brought it all to life for me. And in a few minutes I’m going to write that part in The Loyalist’s Luck.

Imagine a foot of snow on the ground and you'll see what we saw.

Imagine a foot of snow on the ground and you’ll see what we saw.

3. As if getting my pages written in the morning and taking this tour in the afternoon wasn’t enough of a thrill, that night my husband found a surprise for me in our alma mater’s alumni magazine which had come in the mail that day. Listed on p. 36 under New Releases From Western Alumni was my novel, The Loyalist’s Wife, among books by seventeen other Western grads. And, of course, with Alice Munro winning the Nobel Prize for Literature and having attended Western as well, we Western people are just a little proud. Imagine being in the same issue as the article about Munro’s Nobel!

I Made It Into My Alumni Magazine!

The moral of the story, so to speak today is that celebratory days come and when they do–



Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Historical Fiction, History, Just For Fun


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Interview of Elaine Cougler Where Many Probing Questions are Answered

A wonderful thing about being an author is finding other like-minded people who spend their days or nights doing the same crazy thing. They write. And, more importantly for me, they publish. Matt Holmes, author of several books, is one such writer whom I discovered in the last year and interviewed here in January.

Today he is returning the favour over on his site, Kimota94′s Place. When his questions arrived I couldn’t wait to read them and I wasn’t disappointed. He has asked a lot about the writing of The Loyalist’s Wife, how I did my research, whether there is a sequel, and much more.

Click over to Kimota94′s Place where Matt puts me through my paces.

The LoyalistsWife_3D_510x602

The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler is Here!

Kobo version Kindle version for Canadians Kindle version Paperback

Still available: Your free copy of 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing. Download from the link in the side column!


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Where Do New Historicals Come From?

attawondaronkJ.R. Montgomery is not a household name. Yet.

His first book, however, is ground-breaking for its telling of the Attawondaronks who lived in Southern Ontario at the beginning of the sixteenth century. And Rick adds to the excitement with his story of a life-long preoccupation with these early peoples, so much so that he is an authority on the topic.

I have known Rick for many years but I never knew about his writing or his interest in history, two interests that we definitely share. Today I take great pleasure in giving my readers the gift of a new historical author about whom we shall definitely hear more.

EC: People often want to know how long the writing of a book takes. Would you discuss that but include all the work and research that went on before you ever started writing, perhaps even telling the story of Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Authors, General, Publishing


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15 Craig Pyette Points to Get Your Novel Accepted by an Editor

Have you ever wanted just to sit down with a senior editor and ask what it is they want? Do your eyes glaze over when yet another query letter is answered with “thanks, but no thanks’?

You’ve worked and worked at your submission, followed all the suggestions given to you and, while you wait for query replies, your non-nails are red and raw with worry.

Self-doubt is your closest companion, so much so that your spouse suggests there isn’t room for all three of you in the marriage bed.

Me, too.

And that’s why I went to a workshop given by Craig Pyette, a senior editor at Random House of Canada Limited, through The Writers’ Community of Durham Region.

I wanted to hear yet another person in the business explain just what is in the elusive pot at the end of the writing rainbow. And more importantly, how writers might reach it. Could I dip in for some goodies? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Conferences, Publishing, Writing Tips


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7 Great Historical Fiction Characteristics, From Where I Sit

My book journals are full of historical fiction books.

Years ago a friend talked with me about a wonderful historical novel she had read. Excited, I asked its name, only to learn it was a Louis L’Amour western.  Well, yes, it was about the past but historical fiction it was not.  And just lately I critiqued a selection supposedly of historical fiction.  Again, it seemed to be a novel simply set in the old west.  The question, then, is what exactly is historical fiction.

I can best answer this with my own preferences.

7 Characteristics of Great Historical Fiction:

  1. The books must exhibit Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by on April 24, 2012 in General, History, Writing Tips


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Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Some days the rabbit gets you and some days you have rabbit stew.  It’s like that in writing.

I don’t usually experience the blank page syndrome, but I do struggle to develop characters who can take me (and readers) through the whole story.  Filling out that character sheet is a fabulous help.  We’re told to work with these characters, fleshing them out so well that we absolutely know what they’ll do in any given situation.  Through workshops and writing books, as well as my own observations over years of reading great authors, I know this character stuff is essential.  If the reader doesn’t care about the character, she’ll put the book down.

Coming up with a great character to star in book three of my historical trilogy has been tough.  I sort of knew the time period, the  general setting, and even the extended family.  But, I didn’t have a main character.  Until Sunday.

Sunshine filled Ontario’s blue skies that day so that we just had to drive out and meet it.  Where could we go?  First, the sugar bush beckoned and we came away with Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Authors, General, History, Writing Tips


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A Little Tar-and-Feather Party, Anyone?

A tar and feathers victim in 1917, Wikipedia photo.

The main purpose of tar and feathering, the stories of which are so commonplace that the expression has developed an idiomatic life of its own today, was humiliation in a somewhat humorous vein.  Hard to believe, I know.  In my research for The Loyalist’s Wife, which takes place from 1778 to 1780, I ran across many factual accounts of tar and feathers being used.  Of course, I thought of the tar of today which must be heated very hot before it liquefies, and, therefore, these stories were particularly horrifying. The tar would have been boiling.

Imagine being chased by a crowd, finally caught, stripped to the waist and painted with boiling tar and doused in the nearest pile of feathers.  (From your own pillow, no doubt, the making of which represented hours of work to create in the first place.)  Boiling tar?  How could a person survive that?

As is so often the case, the actual practice was Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 20, 2012 in History


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