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Category Archives: Just For Fun

The (Writing) Beat Goes On. And On. And On.

Here’s  the view outside my writing room last week. Vibrant blue sky setting off the sun and shadows on pristine snow. But it was cold. 35-40 degrees Celsius below zero overnight (with the wind chill factored in). Even in Ontario that’s unusual and some records were broken. Made me glad to be inside at my computer.

home snow

 This week I’m writing my blog on the other side of the country and outside my window the morning sun streaks across the parking lot to encourage spring’s flowers to push out of the bushes. Everywhere I look as we drive around Victoria, colour brightens my day–violet heathers, yellow daffodils, and bountiful budding trees. The whole city is alive and greening up. I particularly like the pink flowering trees and the rich rose shades of the camellias.

This is the view outside my daughter’s window, temporary though it is while she and her family wait a few months for their house to be finished. But even here it’s sweater and/or coat weather.

Beth Rich appt

 

No matter the weather, no matter the location, this writer’s life goes on. Isn’t that great?

It’s as simple as bringing a laptop or an iPad and keeping up with email, checking the latest posts of other writers, and moving book 3 of the Loyalist trilogy ahead. This month I’m working on plot outlines centred around the various characters and story lines that are converging in my head after months of research about the period 1815-1837. Whatever did we do before we had computers and computer technology? I love my devices.

Confession Time

For the last five days I’ve been leaving off the bit about working on my novel. Yes, it’s true. I’ve been playing with my 7-year-old granddaughter, helping my daughter and family with their move, and finally getting outside to walk. I needed to get my walking legs going as lately Ontario has just been too cold for leisurely exercising outside.

But today I’m back at writing. I’ve decided to write out the plot lines for various characters in the new novel as a start. As soon as I finish this blog post and go for a walk with my husband. And because I’m on the west coast of Canada it’s still early here so I have the whole day to fit in my walking and my writing. I can hardly wait to get started.

Oh, and I’ll be saving to the Cloud and to Dropbox, both platforms easily accessible either here or in Ontario. Don’t you just love technology? Leave me a comment to say how you keep up when you’re traveling.

Writers need reviews on their books. If you haven’t already done so, how about writing a review of the first two Loyalist books on Amazon or Goodreads? I’d do my happy dance…

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Keep the New Year From Getting Old

fireworksI gave up writing New Years’ resolutions years ago. Did you? Or do you still, as the old year parties itself out, struggle to put your hopes and dreams into some kind of list which will magically transform you into that person you always wanted to be?

Once you’ve seen the ball drop, watched the old man cavort in diapers, or wiped that slobbery party kiss off a few times, rethinking the whole holiday becomes paramount. Here are a few of the things I’ve done to keep the new year fresh and fruitful.

I never actually make a list of resolutions. Rather than think of the weight I’d like to lose or the invitation I’d like to receive from the prime minister of Canada or the Queen of England, I think of less specific and more attainable goals.

I don’t write them in a list because if I do that list will haunt my days (and nights) for much of the year to come.

Although in the past I have used my own 12 point programs to effect changes in my life with a fair amount of success, these days, I change my focus. Rather than think of what I don’t like about myself or my inabilities, I think of what I have accomplished. And I keep a list of kudos and joys that have come my way.

These things are for the times I forget where I’m going or why.

Here are a few of them:necklace

  • A hand-made story book written by one of my students about her appreciation of me as her teacher.

  • A card from my sister’s in-laws, in their nineties, congratulating me on my “first but not the last book”.

  • A natural garnet stone from a dear friend because she was wishing me success with my books.

  • A necklace from my daughter whose oak tree image means potential for greatness, given to me as I struggled the last few steps to publication.

  • Countless cards and jewelry pieces from the man who is the best gift I ever received.

  • Appreciative comments from readers which I’ve collected into a list.

  • The sound of my far-away granddaughter’s voice when she picks up the phone to talk to me and her drawings on my frig.

All of these things and more are there for me to touch for strength. They make my New Years’ hopes shine as they relate to what I’ve done and accomplished.

Just for the record, here are my writing plans at present: research and write the rough draft of The Loyalist Legacy, book three in the Loyalist trilogy, push on with marketing the trilogy via new methods (more to come on those), and make every day count not just in writing but in living my life. These things will make me happy. What are your happiness-inducing plans? And when the year winds down will you have a basket full of mementos of a successful year? I sincerely hope so.

 

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Just For Fun

 

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3 Reasons I Can’t Seem To Write Today

Did you ever have a day when the topics just wouldn’t come? Ever wonder why?

Today is such a day for me so this post will be short. Here are three things that are keeping me from writing a brilliant blog post.

1. photo (3)photo (2) This is the weak weather outside my front door. Notice my neighbor’s Christmas reindeer are still out there. We haven’t had a break in the snow since Christmas and he can’t get those cute reindeer put away.

2. Across the street you can see the falling snow, a picture that is hard to get. Ordinarily I’d be really excited at this phenomenon but enough is enough this year.

3. My daughter and her family are flying in this evening but as the day goes on, we wonder if we’ll be able to go to the airport 30 miles away and pick them up. Or even if the plane will land. My 6-year-old granddaughter will love the snow and the reindeer even though I’m pretty sure the adults won’t be so enamored.

photoThe positive is that I got three more pages written as I finish off the rough draft of The Loyalist’s Luck, due for release in September. Yay! And I found a great website with lots of information about Governor and Mrs. Simcoe who both appear in this second book of my Loyalist trilogy.

Hope you are enjoying the snow, either in person or through these pictures, better than I am. :-(

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon here.

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Historical Fiction, Just For Fun

 

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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–

CELEBRATE!

 
5 Comments

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

 

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1000 Ways to Be A Happy Writer

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We’re fifteen days into a new year and, having taken off the last three weeks to celebrate with my family, I’m really ready to get back to blogging. I didn’t give up on writing for those weeks, just blogging. After all, The Loyalist’s Luck will never get written if I don’t buckle down and tell John and Lucy’s continuing story.

(If you haven’t noticed, the title is a bit of a misnomer. I’m a little crazy today, but I’m happy.) :-)

Filling my Inbox have been updates on how my fellow writers did on their old goals, how they’ve revised them for the year 2014, and just how they are going to complete all those marvelous to do lists they’ve birthed. Well, here goes my version of this time honoured tradition.

I did loads and loads of things to publish The Loyalist’s Wife, got it out to the world in June, found a couple of errors and rebirthed it two weeks later, answered email and phone messages of congratulations and turned into a marketing mogul. Arlene Dickinson, move over.

No, I didn’t write hundreds of goals last January. I had one. Get the book out there for the world. Eight words. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t.

But it was FANTASTIC! I had such a great time I plan to do it all over again. Yes, WordPress sent me some crunchy numbers and they are tres interessants but the best part has been and continues to be getting out in the world with my historical fiction.

What am I going to do this year? More of the same, only better and smarter and catchier. At least, I hope so. And I hope some of the things I write about here will catch your interest and help you to do the same if you’re a writer. If you’re a reader, be sure there will be lots coming your way along the historical fiction highway from my house to yours. Once again, I invite you to sign up for my update newsletter which will give you the very latest news and events related to The Loyalist Trilogy. Here’s the link:

Sign up for my email list to receive my quarterly newsletter, the next issue of which will be February!

The Loyalist's Wife_cover_Mar18.inddPurchase The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon here.

And here’s to a Happy, Happy New Year!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2014 in General, Historical Fiction, Just For Fun

 

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Her Story Grows and Blossoms

Donna Garner photo

Donna Garner

She was only a teenager when she performed the irascible Aunt Eller in Oklahoma and, while that part is usually played by someone longer in the tooth, Donna Garner owned it. I was Music Director for that show and several of my family and friends were in that production, an energetic group who started what turned out to be a small but mighty local theatre in our area.

My youngest sister, Donna, went on to become a thoroughly professional talent on the North American theatre scene. She sings, plays piano plus a host of other instruments, and catches your eye every time she walks on stage in a character role. She is funny. As Vi Petty in The Buddy Holly Story at the Charlottetown Festival her performance rang with authenticity, talent, and just plain fun. I’ll never forget the vision of her playing a rollicking keyboard number, her body lying back almost flat, away from the keyboard, and the sound just a-cookin’. It was great.

Last Saturday my husband and I caught Donna in Once at the Royal Alex theatre in Toronto. Part of a year-long tour this off-Broadway show is visiting spots all across North America. Here is the link.

As the audience trickles into the theatre they have the option of going up on stage, buying a drink at the bar which is part of the set and hanging out there as the actors saunter in, grab their instruments, and begin to play. I suppose I could have joined the singing if I wanted, the atmosphere was just that comfortable and real. But I didn’t. Instead I stood on the stage and watched my sister, Baruska in the show, who, when she saw me, raised her eyebrows completely in character but just for me. I had not seen her since early August.

The show was cleverly written, lively, and well-performed on the adaptable stage. We loved it. Afterwards we waited for Donna before going for an early dinner so that she could get back and do the Saturday night show. And in the restaurant she was recognized! It was all thrilling. We so wished Mom was alive to see it.

Here are some pictures:

1. Donna as Fairy Godmother on Disney ship.

Donna Garner fairy godmother

2. Donna at one the the jazz concerts she often performs.

Donna Garner at mic

3. The poster outside the theatre with Donna in the picture. They have several, each one sporting different major characters.

Donna Garner in Once poster

4. My treasured program with my sister’s bio in it.

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5. Donna after one of her jazz concerts this past summer in Toronto. Some of our family had gone to hear the performance. It was awesome.

Donna Garner and rest of us

Today’s post is a little far off the track for an historical fiction author but I know you’ll forgive me for praising my sister, just this one time. If you can, go see the show, Once, in a city near you. It’s a great story and will fill up your creative reserves, for sure.

Donna’s alma mater, Western University in London, is proud of her, too.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Just For Fun, Personal History

 

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7 Author Opportunities When You Publish a Book

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Yesterday and today I have been a very busy lady, indeed:

1. The prodigious P.C. Zick has interviewed me on her Author Wednesday section of her blog here.

2. And Urve Tamberg, another excellent author has interviewed me on her blog here.

3. Facebook friends have talked about three local events: Guest Speaker at an historical society banquet and annual meeting on Saturday night, book launch for The Loyalist’s Wife on Sunday, reading and Q & A for a library book club on Tuesday night, as well as for a book store in Guelph quite soon. Follow me on Facebook to see details for all of these events.   http://www.facebook.com/ElaineCouglerAuthor

And if you Like me on FB, I’ll be sure to Like you back!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon here.

The Loyalist's Wife_cover_Mar18.indd

 

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