Category Archives: Research Tips

Blog Tour and FAQ’s I Get as a Published Author

This week and next you can find me on a Historical Fiction blog tour.This means people read my book and review it and/or interview me and/or ask me to write a guest post. Please join me each day. The schedule is below.

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FAQ’s For This Author

1.  How long did it take you to write The Loyalist’s Wife?

The first draft took me a year with lots of research, learning, and time off for downsizing to a condo. Then I wanted help with the next steps and found writing workshops, conferences, and other writers with whom to share critiques. That stage lasted almost five years with lots of twists and wrong turns in the journey. I needed time and experience to develop the ability to choose my own style and my own path.

2.  What is the attraction of historical fiction?

For me historical fiction has an extra layer to it. The plot can have not only the protagonist and antagonist and their various raisons d’être, but also the grounding feature of actual people and events. This makes the story very real for me and I do love learning about history against the backdrop of a really great story.

3What types of books do you like to read?

Ah, that’s a good one. I always answer historical fiction but if someone I trust suggests a great book, that title will find its way into my TBR pile. My sister has pointed me to wonderful stories such as The Help and The Secret Life of Bees. Now that I think of it, they each have an historical quality to them, too!

4.  Does your reading influence your writing?

Absolutely! At times I forgo reading books similar to mine so that I won’t find those stories or characters poking their heads up in my own work. That being said I find I am a more discerning reader now that I’m writing novels myself as I can see the novelist’s plan and structure behind the story. And I love, just love, to find a tightly written bit which jumps out to my writer’s mind. I just want to e-mail that writer and applaud him or her.

5.  Are conferences and workshops important to a writer?

You hear all the time that writing is a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be. In this Internet world opportunities are there for grabbing but you have to reach out. I’ve flown across the country on more than one occasion to find what I need. One of the best conferences was in Vancouver about three years ago where I got turned on to social media as a way to learn more and to find an audience. Pitch conferences are eye-opening and every writer should take that plunge. Just now I’m planning how to get to the Historical Novel Society conference in England next September. It will be amazing, truly amazing!

6.  How much do you think about your reader when you are writing?

In the beginning I didn’t think much about my readers. I just knew what I loved as a lifelong HF reader and that style came naturally to me. A lot of people talk about identifying your audience which is a great idea and very necessary. I know exactly the type of person who likes my work and I now write for them. It helps that I write in a genre which I personally adore reading.

7.  If you had known when you started what the journey would be, would you have set out to write, publish and sell books?

That question has had different answers over the six years it took me to publish The Loyalist’s Wife but now the answer is definitely I would do this again; in fact, I am working on the second book of The Loyalist Trilogy!

8.  What is your daily writing regimen?

I always work best in the morning and that’s how I wrote the first book. Three hours of losing myself in words and wonderful concentration and the afternoon was free. Now I’ve trained myself to write my three pages whenever I have a couple of hours in the day. I never write at night but I often think about my writing and read writing magazines, both of which things give me ideas for the next day. To get myself started each day, I write notes and questions at the end of the previous day’s writing. These provide the key to getting my brain back in gear on a new day.

9.  How do you pick which writing help books to use and which to pass by?

Over the last few years I’ve bought a lot of writing books and gleaned amazing things from each one. I should confess, however, that I am under no compulsion to finish reading them! Some I do, some I don’t. As far as how to pick them, I just go for those that promise to show me something I need to know at that particular time. I’ve done posts on many books which I’ll link here. The bottom line for me is that books can help enormously but ultimately a writer has to sift through all the how-to information and just write, write, write. One of my writing friends told me that. Pretty sage advice. And knowing how hard it is to write, we must beware of using the how-to books as crutches and excuses not to put fingers on keyboard and glide off down the hill, hanging on for the ride of our life.

10.  Is self publishing for everyone?

This is a thorny question in some circles but I can only talk about my own case. I never wanted to self publish. I wanted to have an agent and a publisher. When I started to query and to listen to the state of the publishing world, eventually I changed my mind and took control of my book again. The numbers here in Canada were not favorable for my HF books. Besides, I’m a control freak. After much dithering and dickering I set up my own publishing company and took the plunge. I’ve never regretted that move. I had my manuscript professionally edited twice, my book interior designed by an amazing detail person in Paris, France, and my cover and actual printing done in Victoria, B.C. For the second book, I’m using the same people so that shows how happy I am with my choices. Of course if a famous publisher decides to pick up my work, I’ll have to rethink the whole subject again!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, October 7
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 8
Review at West Metro Mommy

Wednesday, October 9
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, October 10
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, October 11
Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook

Monday, October 14
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, October 15
Review at A Bookish Affair
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, October 17
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, October 18
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Monday, October 21
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Find The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler

on Amazon and in many other fine bookstores.



31 Writing Subjects I’ve Found on Twitter

Twitter on my desktop and via Hootsuite on my iPad2.

“Twitter?  It’s a waste of time.  You’re crazy to even be on it, let alone find anything useful!”

So spoke my friend, who shall remain nameless for protection reasons.  Do you hear this sentiment at all?  What is your Twitter experience?  Mine is great, as I explain over and over in this recurring discussion with people of my generation; in fact, it’s so great that I started cutting and pasting useful articles, links and all, to a Word file.  There I reference the material when I need it.  Here are 31 categories of articles that I’ve collected and the file keeps growing.  Periodically I print out the latest pages because I do have a recurring fear of losing files on my computer.  I guess it’s the Read the rest of this entry »


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A Tip About a Revealing Book: Mrs. Simcoe’s Diary

Today’s post is a revisit to a marvelous book I found while researching, Mrs. Simcoe’s Diary.  If you want to learn about North America two hundred and some years ago, check this out.  I was astounded and thought I’d resurrect this post from another blog I run.  Enjoy!

Mrs. Simcoe’s Diary Day

For the last week of my holiday and up till today, I have been reading very early Canadian history. During that time I met Mrs. Simcoe. She was the wife of Governor Simcoe of Upper Canada whose time in this province (present-day Ontario) has left so many marks. (I grew up a mile north of the Governor’s Road, built by and named for Governor John Graves Simcoe.
Amazingly his wife came with him to this untamed country and Read the rest of this entry »


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