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I Met My Writing Heroes!

HNS2015-logo3This past weekend was the Historical Novel Society Conference in Denver, Colorado and I was there. My fellow writers and I arrived Thursday evening in the mile-high city and that was the last I saw of the outdoors until Sunday night when we left the hotel for a dinner out. The interim was filled with workshops, pitches, meals, speakers, coffee klatsches, and dozens of connecting conversations with authors, wannabes, editors, and agents, all united in their desire to talk about historical fiction. Fantastic.

Right out of the gate I found I had made a mistake by not signing up for the sword-fighting extra session before the conference began. My friends raved about it. I spent the time relaxing and discovered I’m not really that good at it. Live and learn. The conference began in earnest on Friday night with a lovely dinner even though we were all packed in like berries in a box and, yes, there was a bit of smushing going on. The conference had over 450 attendees, the most ever.

SKP and me

Sharon Kay Penman and I after the coffee klatsch.

Saturday morning I was in the conference lobby at 6:40 a.m. to sign up for a coffee klatsch with Sharon Kay Penman (held on Sunday morning.) The next day I got there early, the room was unavailable and SKP and I stood and talked for 15 minutes. Her books have meant so much to me that I had to tell her my joy at reading them all beginning with The Sunne in Splendour. A petite and classy lady, she was delighted with my story and we talked about her other books as well as my writing. Then ten of us sat around a conference table and asked questions of this amazing and prolific writer.

Although I’m very happy being an Indie author, I had signed up to pitch two agents just to investigate the other side. I glanced across the room while I was waiting for my turn to pitch and saw three waiting pitchers sitting side by side outside an agent’s door. Their faces–indeed their whole bodies–were completely frozen in fear. I’m so glad to have reached the stage where I take these things in stride.

My session went well and I’ll have more on that in a later post.

Penman George Smith

Sharon Kay Penman, Margaret George and Anne Easter Smith at conference table.

One of the workshops I attended had Sharon Kay Penman, Margaret George and Anne Easter Smith whose treasured books are all on my shelf as mementos of fabulous reads I’ve enjoyed. Imagine a panel with all three of them discussing Damsels to the Rescue: Reviving the Male Protagonist. Ably hosted by author David Blixt of sword fighting fame (pictured below) the session was quite informative although I don’t really worry about whether my protagonists are male or female, just whether they are compelling.

David Blixt

Sally Karen Cryssa

Hana Samek Norton2

My other Canadian author friends, Sally Moore, Karen Martindale, and Cryssa Bazos were at the conference, too, as well as Hana Samek Norton, who returns frequently to Canada although she now lives in the U.S. Having this group along doubled the fun as we could revel in each other’s success. We were often referred to as the Canadian contingent and one person on the elevator caught me for using the giveaway “eh” phrase. Funny.

Next week’s post will complete the HNS review with more pictures and even Diana Gabaldon. Come back and join me, please. :-)

How About an Authors and History Tour? Click here for details of this amazing cruise. Come join us!

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

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.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

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

Short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Canada Self-Published Book Awards

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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Research, Writing and Reality

Eight years ago when I started writing seriously, three hours in my morning were dedicated to working on my first book. Then I carried on with the rest of my day, puttering, reading for pleasure, gallivanting with my husband, riding my bicycle, hitting the gym and the coffee shop afterwards with my friends, and just doing what I pleased. Oh, and I had time for a bit of housework. I was retired.

Fast forward to today. I wake and grab my iPad to see what new writing messages have come in, I respond, I read new web posts, I get up and get my breakfast, and I take it to my computer where I deal with emails and marketing. This takes about an hour and a half. Then I shower and get ready for the day. Maybe some dishes hit the dishwasher or some bathroom cleanup happens but by 9 I’m back at my computer turning off my email and my phone and closing the door. It’s time to write.

A couple of hours later I surface and plug in to the world again letting my patient husband know my door is open and stretching up out of my chair to prepare lunch. There’s a sense of freedom and definitely a great feeling of accomplishment even if I’ve only written 2 pages. On good days it’s 3.

In the afternoons or on the weekends sometimes we get away from our computers and hit the road. I like nothing better than to walk the sites where my characters might have walked and even more I love to find places that will work their way into my writing. The Angel Inn is one such place.

Photo by Elaine Cougler

Photo by Elaine Cougler

This venerable old establishment found its way into my second book in the Loyalist trilogy and is also a pivotal place in the third which I’m writing now. Can you not just see Lucy carrying a pitcher to waiting patrons? This is where research is really mixed with reality and on our visits to present-day Niagara-on-the-Lake we love to lunch here. It’s a unique kind of research when you sit in a building which was rebuilt in 1815 after the fire two years earlier in the War of 1812.

Photo credit Elaine Cougler

Photo by Elaine Cougler

The other day I was speaking at a local Rotary club and I read about the Americans burning the town before hightailing it back across the river ahead of the British. I told the story of my research where I found the story of a sick old woman carried bed and all out into the snow-filled street to watch the Canadian volunteers torch her home.

Photo by Elaine Cougler

Photo by Elaine Cougler

Can’t you just see Lucy running from the door under the flag, her arms full of sheets and pots and anything else she could gather in the hour the townspeople had before the flames would destroy their town? Imagine snow and cold and very soon flames pursuing the poor people. Here is my description from The Loyalist’s Luck:

People howled in the streets. When the torchers reached the
house next door they learned that the old woman who lived there
was sick and could not leave her bed. The soldier gave the order
to carry her, bed and all, outside into the snow where she lay shivering
under her blankets as her house burned to the ground. Lucy
ran to the bed and heaped her spare blankets on the woman but
they gave no comfort to the woman or to Lucy.
As dusk came the flames lit up the night sky and for a while the
heat warmed the watchers so that they did not immediately begin
to look for shelter. When they did, there was none. The Fort was
still held by the Americans and all the buildings in the town were
burning. A cry went up as the church tower collapsed with a flaming
shower of sparks, most of which landed in the snow and were
extinguished. Others, however, fell on the townspeople, and one
wee boy’s coat was fully flaming before his mother screamed and
rolled him in the snow to douse the fire.

Today Niagara-on-the-Lake is a popular tourist town with little hint of what happened there just over two hundred years ago. The history does make a wonderful story though. And a great place for this writer to visit. It’s all research, you know?

How About an Authors and History Cruise? Click here for details of this amazing cruise. Come join us!

***Need more information? We’re doing a webinar! Click for details.***

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

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.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

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

Short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Canada Self-Published Book Awards

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.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Historical Fiction

 

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7 Useful Tips for Authors to Help Their Readers

Today we’re finishing the two-part series started last week with 7 Tips for Readers to Help Their Favorite Authors.  I’ve compiled a list of things you might do to really help readers read and enjoy your books.

You’ve written your book and have lots of sales but somehow you’re not sure you’ve done everything you could have to make that book fantastic. Here are some suggestions that might have readers telling their friends about your book, buying gift copies for the birthdays of all their relatives, whether readers or not, or simply rushing to purchase your next book for themselves. Feel free to add other ideas in the comments section.

7 Ways Authors Can Help Their Readers

Map from The Loyalist's Luck book two in the Loyalist trilogy.

Map from The Loyalist’s Luck, book two in the Loyalist trilogy by Elaine Cougler

  1. Publish books in readable fonts, both size and appearance. Reading should be enjoyable and even if you can read a 10-point font, do you really want to? I picked up a book which turned out to be a good read but it could have been so much better if I didn’t have to sit under a bright light to read it.  I have perfect eyesight close up but the small font was most annoying for me. Authors, be kind to your readers!

  2. Aim for perfection in your book. I know everyone is different but errors in a book really stop me cold and take me out of the story. We owe our readers as close to a perfect text as possible. Use editors. Their different viewpoints and new sets of eyes will see things you miss. And they’ll point out structural, plot, and other flaws you might miss. Pricing for editors is all over the map but persevere and find someone whose work you trust at a price you can afford.

  3. Write clearly with a view to understanding so your reader isn’t going more than half way to understand your work. We writers like to keep our readers in suspense but sometimes we go too far and the reader just becomes confused. I’ve adopted for my guideline on this the idea that the reader shouldn’t have to go more than half way to figure out what’s going on in my book and, indeed, I’ve stopped reading more than one book which was just too confusing for me. As an author I read my work aloud to check the flow of my sentences and to catch the places where confusion happens because I’ve added in too many phrases and clauses which can be taken in more than one way. I don’t want my reader to have to stop and figure out just what the sentence means. Each day as I start writing I go back over the previous day’s three pages and check for the flow of the words. Of course I’ll probably read it twenty times before the book is published but this gets me started thinking like a reader.

  4. Don’t write unnecessary words. Write only what is needed and leave the reader room to use his/her brain to understand. At the end of one of my chapters in The Loyalist’s Wife I set up the scene with Lucy going to bed in a calm state thinking only good thoughts. In the night, however, she wakes and sits right up in bed. I end the chapter with “Someone was in the room!” Needless to say the reader has to turn the page. I didn’t have to say that it might be that old skinflint, Daeger, who has threatened her before. The reader knows this and, in fact, would be bored with having me write those words.

  5. Put a map or maps in the front of the book to make following your heroes’ journeys easier. This can be difficult but drawing your own is a good option. Your interior book designer will have suggestions on symbols for mountains, etc. I’ve put one of the maps from The Loyalist’s Luck above. My designer took my hand-drawn sketch and made it much more presentable. I especially like that she made it look like an old piece of parchment. That and the direction symbol really added flavor to the map.

  6. If your cast of characters gets longer and longer, particularly with multiple family relationships, put a cast of characters or family tree list in the front of the novel. That’s really helpful for your readers to go back and remember some character you talked about earlier. Someone very close to me had a stroke and couldn’t remember as she read new books. Those character lists were a great help for her in getting back her reading skills and enjoyment. They’re also helpful when your readers write a review of the book. :-)

  7. Be accessible to your readers via Goodreads, Blogs, website contact buttons, and sign-up newsletters. Also set yourself up on Amazon author pages and other platforms like Selz where you might sell your books. Personal appearances are great and I always have a good time presenting and then talking to participants afterwards. Many of them buy my books and sign up for my quarterly newsletter. (More info coming on that.)

How About an Authors and History Cruise? Click here for details of this amazing cruise. Come join us!

***Need more information? We’re doing a webinar! Click for details.***

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

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.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

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

Short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Canada Self-Published Book Awards

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.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 3, 2015 in Authors, Readers' Wants

 

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7 Tips for Readers To Help Their Favorite Authors

Today we’re starting a two-part post to be completed next week. That post will turn the tables and suggest ways writers can help their readers. I’ve compiled a list of things you might do to really help authors to get their books noticed beyond their immediate circles, something we all dream of.

You’ve read the book and liked it or even loved it and recommended it to your closest friends. And at the next author event you tell the writer. Yay! Thanks so much. We love hearing your comments about our books, especially the good ones. :-! One more thing you can do could be found in the list below. Or, to REALLY help, do them all!

7 Tips for Readers to Help Authors

  1. Write book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. Here’s a link to my post explaining just how to do this. When you do, know that authors the world over will thank you for this is how their work gets noticed.

  2. Like author pages on Facebook. So a few days ago I’m in the shower and an old song from maybe the sixties bubbles up. Except I’ve put in my own words:  “Come on, baby, like my page!” I guess you know what was on my mind. Seriously, if you’re on Facebook you probably know about liking pages. Mine is at facebook.com/ElaineCouglerAuthor. Try to put the likes on my author page and not my personal page. You’re welcome to go to my personal page, just keep your wonderful writing oriented comments on my author page. Just one little click/Like and I’ll be ecstatic.

  3.  Invite writers as speakers to a variety of groups. This is a wonderful way to get exposure for our writing. Talking to those who love history and historical fiction is fabulous for me. Here’s a link to contact me. 😀

  4. Ask your local library to order in local writers’ books. The biggest hurdle for a writer is to get known and to get our books known. Even though we won’t get as many sales if people are borrowing our books from the library, we will get exposure. That translates into opportunities of all kinds for authors.

  5. Buy books for gifts all the time. This is a simple thing but if readers adopt it as a mindset authors will love you. So many books are published every day that, of course, you should tailor your purchases to the tastes of everyone on your list. Check this Wikipedia site for its take on the staggering number of books published each year in different countries. Notice that the years vary.

  6. Tweet your favorite author’s books on Twitter. I dislike getting repeated author tweets about their books and I’ve unfriended more than one author for spamming me over and over with nothing but ads for their books. Far better for readers to do a tweet or two to their connections about a book they loved, or author readings they attended, or book launches, etc. Your author friends will love you!

  7. Join an author’s list. Better yet join the lists of all your favorite authors. Mine gets you quarterly (usually) emails about my writing, deleted passages from my books, exclusive announcements for savings (especially around Christmas), and many other related tidbits. I’m working on a signup button but so far my brain hasn’t figured out the technical details. Please email me to sign up.

Next week Part 2 of this topic will be up: 7 Tips for Writers to Help Their Treasured Readers.  Hope you can make it!

How About an Authors and History Cruise? Click here for details of this amazing cruise. Come join us!

***Need more information? We’re doing a webinar! Click for details.***

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

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.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

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

Short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Canada Self-Published Book Awards

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.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Authors, Readers, Writing Journey

 

Tags: , , ,

Video Interview with Multi-talented Author Thomas Ryerson Part 2

This week in part two of my interview with Tom Ryerson our discussion centers on marketing our books, our blogs and webpages, a writer’s much-needed self-discipline, and font size, of all things!

Last week Tom talked about his education in film making, his great-grandfather who survived the Titanic and whose life forms the nucleus of one of his books, and of every author’s nightmare–finding new information after the book is published.

 We hope Part 2 of the interview is instructive for both writers and readers. Enjoy!

Thomas Ryerson’s books are available on Amazon here. Click back to last Wednesday’s blog post for the first part of our writers’ chat.

How About an Authors and History Cruise? Click here for details of this amazing cruise. Come join us!

***Need more information? We’re doing a webinar! Click for details.***

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

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.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

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

Short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Canada Self-Published Book Awards

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 May 20, 2015 in Authors, Publishing, Videos

 

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Video Interview with Multi-talented Author Thomas Ryerson

One very exciting and extremely rewarding part of being a writer is getting to speak with others who are following the same road as I. Last week I sat down with Canadian author, Thomas Ryerson, for a conversation about writing and some of the ups and downs writers experience. Tom talks about his education in film making, his great grandfather who survived the Titanic and whose life forms the nucleus of one of Tom’s books, and of every author’s nightmare–finding new information after the book is published.

This is Part 1 of the interview. Part 2 will be aired next week. Enjoy!

Thomas Ryerson’s books are available on Amazon here. Come visit next Wednesday for the conclusion of our writers’ chat.

 

How About an Authors and History Tour? Click here for details of this amazing cruise. Come join us!

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

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.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

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

Short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Canada Self-Published Book Awards

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.

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Authors, Videos

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Mother’s Day in Fact and Fiction

Ben2_edited

From the time I knew to wear a colored flower to church on Mother’s Day, through becoming a mother myself, to losing my mother and switching to a white flower, I have celebrated this day with my ever-growing family. It’s a good day. Meals out in a restaurant, breakfast in bed made by our young children, and family visits have always filled up my day and my heart with love.

What about mothers in fiction? Of course Mother’s Day did not always exist; it may have started in the late 1800’s. My novels set in the American Revolutionary War are long before this day. I got thinking about Lucy’s role as a mother and thought I’d lift a section out of The Loyalist’s Wife, the first book in my Loyalist trilogy. Perhaps this is why mothers have their own special day here in Canada and elsewhere.

Lucy is by herself in their cabin for months while John is off to fight for the British in the Revolutionary War. She is ten miles from their nearest neighbor and in the cold December night she starts to have contractions.

THE FIRST SHARDS OF DAYLIGHT were long past and the winter sun lit the farmyard outside. The rooster had long since crowed and the chickens scratched fruitlessly in the dirt of the barn floor. The oxen stood by their empty manger and watched a tiny mouse flit back and forth, all of them following the call within. They were hungry.

Lucy had no thought for them, nor was she hungry. Her work was before her and her body knew its job, rhythmically pushing, relaxing, pushing, pushing, relaxing, and again pushing the baby along its way. She worked when necessary and rested for scant seconds between the contractions.

Soon she had no time to rest and the pain rose and rose and rose and never stopped, taking Lucy with it, up and over the mountain, searing her whole body with need. Need to be done, to birth this baby, to win this war, right here, right now.

The screams became endless grunts and groans. Her eyes felt like they might pop out of her head and her sweat smelled sweet and musty. She fell back, spent. Her eyes closed. Relief. Blood seeped back into her brain. “Baby…” She struggled up on her elbows to look. “My wee child.” She saw the still, bluish object between her legs and struggled to reach it. She hardly knew what

she was doing as she stuck her finger in the mouth and pulled out wet slime. She held the baby by its feet and slapped its backside. And waited, terrified, sobbing. “Oh, baby, my baby. Breathe. Breathe.” There was nothing. She jerked the baby to her bosom and held on tight, squashing it to her, crying and crying.

And then she wasn’t crying alone. She heard the sweet howl at the same time as she felt the baby’s chest move against hers.“You’re alive.Oh, honey, you’re alive.” She lay back down and rocked the newborn against her. What would John say when he knew he had a… son or daughter? She held the baby away from her and laughed. They had a son. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t even noticed before, or thought to look.

Now pictures flooded her mind, of John and their baby, of John and their little boy, of herself teaching him his letters, of John teaching him to ride, to shoot, to hunt, to do everything. Their whole future was spread out before her in her mind’s eye and her smile came unbidden as she lay the wee babe down.

The cord pulsed big and blue out of her child’s belly. As the blood flow slowed and stopped she knew she must cut the cord. The knife lay beside her, ready. She had to slice through the line connecting her and her son. Her hand was wet with sweat. She reached for the knife.

And dropped it. She began to cry. The baby wailed with her. She took a deep breath, looped the slimy cord over her hand, and sliced it through. Through her tears she saw that her boy was safe, his color was good and his lips moved. He was hungry. She gave him her breast. He seemed to know just what to do with it. 

-from The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler.

This Mother’s Day give a moment to thinking of all the mothers you know and to the fathers, too, who find that selfless part of themselves and willingly submit to it for their children.

I’ve heard it said by many a writer that writing a book is like birthing a baby so add writers to your positive and thankful thoughts. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Two Precious Mothers with Their Precious Kids

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My awesome daughter-in-law and my oh so special grandson.

 

 

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My lovely and loving daughter and my cute and funny granddaughter.

 

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