I’ve always been a reader. Have you? From the time I let the vacuum run and run while I read one of my mother’s books from the shelf in the upstairs bedroom, books have fascinated me. The covers–usually glossy papers rife with colour–and the weighty textured inside paper full of words wild and wonderful took me from childhood to adulthood and still lure me today.
Early on the wonderful Canadian writer, Margaret Laurence, took my fancy and I read every one of her books, waiting none too patiently for each new one to appear. She wrote about women of all kinds and I, a young mother, teacher, wife and imaginer, lapped up her words. Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour opened another door into historical fiction about Henry VIII and has led me along her starred path for many years. So many other writers shine in my memories of travels taken in my mind that I cannot possibly list them here. Reading was such a focal point in my life.
A few years ago, however, I stepped up my own writing game and gradually my reading time was usurped by Julia Cameron, Maureen Jennings, Natalie Goldberg, Steven King, and Anne Lamott, to name a very few whose books taught me about writing. As I learned valuable lessons from experts, my time for reading fiction just for fun decreased. Either I didn’t have the time or by night time, my usual reading time, I was too tired. My journals of personal reviews and comments on all the books I read didn’t make it off the shelf very often at all.
Oh, my life was, and is, full but somewhere inside me I’d lost that little bit of sweetness where I could just lose myself in someone else’s words. Something had to change.
I’ve been a member of Goodreads for a few years and have my own two novels listed there along with books read since I started using it. But last January I took a tiny step which turned into a giant leap (no, I wasn’t on the moon!) and signed up for the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge, hoping it would encourage me to read more for fun again.
Today we’re just over half way through November of 2015 and I’ve long since completed my self-imposed challenge (24 books) and have already finished 30 books! Yay! By the end of the year I’ll most likely have 33 or 34. That’s great but along the way something else happened.
I began to see my reading as something more than fun. I read a whole whack of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series and really started to get a sense of his style and what makes him so readable. The same thing happened with Elizabeth Chadwick’s work about the Marshalls. Just now I’m reading a book by Anne Easter Smith and my inner author is digesting her style and her techniques as I read. So now I see the painting from both sides and it is ever so much more colourful. In the Comments section below feel free to tell me what reading means to you.
For All Lovers of Historical Fiction!
The Loyalist’s Luck, Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!
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
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.