Category Archives: Videos

Inside the Writer’s Mind

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be on a local television program here in the heart of Ontario where I live.I enjoyed the experience but watched the result with the critical eye of someone watching herself, always an uncomfortable position. For those writers who may be in a similar situation, the main take-away from my point of view is dress for television. I am chagrined that I didn’t, even though I know better.

Here, then, is the result. View it knowing my caveat, okay? Hopefully others can learn from my mistake.

Interview of Elaine Cougler on Rogers TV, September, 2013.

video Rogers Set 2013

The interviewer who came to film me was good at just letting me talk. He asked a number of questions which the viewer doesn’t hear and then edited them out so that the clip is totally of me talking about writing and The Loyalist’s Wife. I liked that technique because it allowed me to get into my own thoughts and experiences about writing and just run with them. The downside is the chagrin I feel when I hear the sentence errors which come about when one talks in that sort of rambling and thought-provoking way. Still the experience was great fun and I thank my local Rogers TV group for doing it.

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon here.

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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in General, Presentation Tips, Videos


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Does Life Call You to Have Words, to Use Words?

By chance I saw a short video on Sunday which spoke to me about the aloneness of so many people. More than that, this video immediately made me think of writers and our inevitable periods of frustrating loneliness when we can’t find the next plot point, when we seem to write in a vacuum, when moving forward with a project is mind-boggling.

As I watched and listened to this young woman describe her problem and how she solved it, a wonderful euphoric feeling started deep down in my gut and spread throughout my body and my face relaxed into a broad smile. I knew what my post would be this week.

This young woman mentions her dream of becoming a writer, her searing disappointments, but ends up on a completely unexpected high. She says “to be able to put your words onto a piece of paper…to tell your story…[there is] nothing more powerful…than that.” We writers can all take note.

Consider leaving a comment about your aha! moment as a writer or, indeed, in any of your life’s successes. Have you seen anyone else do a random act of kindness? Have you done one yourself? Apparently the coffee drive through line sees this very often. Has anyone ever bought your coffee order?

Download your free copy of 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing from the link in the side column.


Posted by on February 27, 2013 in General, Videos, Writing Tips


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1 Amazing Technique for Speakers

A Completed Graphic Facilitation Wall Poster by Ron Cougler

Early in May my husband and I tripped out to Victoria, B.C. so that he could attend a conference with our daughter and I could add quality granddaughter time to my writing day. And we both loved the change of pace. I worked on the opening chapter of a new book in preparation for a Barbara Kyle course back in Toronto but Ron–he and our daughter learned something completely new and exciting.

Graphic Facilitation

Now this technique involves either one (speaker draws while talking) or two people (one person talks and one draws) and the wall poster is done during the talk. The audience members watch representational graphics for whatever the speaker is saying come alive before their very eyes.

Why is this so exciting? Well for all you doodlers out there, this takes drawing to a whole new level. And the old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ reminds us that learning is enhanced with visual images. I put my picture on my website but I could just as easily have described myself. The problem is that would take longer to write and longer to read. In this instant gratification society the picture is the way to go.

Why am I, a writer, so pumped about this technique? I love anything that’s new and innovative. And a lifelong teacher, I recognize the absolute necessity of grabbing the attention of my audience. Don’t you think this would do it for you? Picture yourself entering a business meeting, sitting in one of the hard chairs, all lined up in a row facing the podium. You settle yourself and check your watch. The speaker arrives with someone accompanying her. He goes to the back wall and tapes up a 4′ by 8′ length of paper from a roll. As the speaker makes sure her mic is on the facilitator arranges a wide variety of markers on a small table to his left. And then the session begins.

The speaker introduces herself and her graphic facilitator. As she talks he draws and writes. You are mesmerized. Her words become pictures in lovely colors, arrows, bubble letters, all relating to what the speaker is saying. This is graphic facilitation. It is known by a few other terms such as visual representation and graphic recording. If you Google the term amazing applications and explanatory facts will appear. You can use this process to lead your group toward a common goal.

In the poster above, entitled Useful Findings About How People View Websites, information pertaining to the subject is incorporated into icons, and structured by a numbering system. Other structures might include arrows joining ideas and taking the eye to the desired outcome of the meeting. This works well in business and private sector meetings.

The Documentation Plan for Diamond by Ron Cougler

What about writing? What about historical fiction, which is the primary subject of this blog? It can work here, too, folks. And when we can get our ducks in a row, Ron and I are going to do a video to demonstrate just how this works. Look for that in the coming weeks.

How do you incorporate new ideas and technologies into your writing? Or your life? Do you agree that innovation is paramount in learning? Consider leaving a comment with your views.

Ron’s website for graphic facilitation is here.


Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Authors, General, Videos, Writing Tips


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Remembering Our History

All around us, every day, history streams by in a fascinating whirl of old people, older buildings, or even the person sitting next to us on the bus.  And we ignore it.  We rush in and out of the old post office, slip past the doddery lady on the sidewalk, and even forget to ask our family elders about their past until it’s too late.  For the most part we don’t care.  Until we lose someone and experience that fleeting moment when we think to ourselves, “Oh, I have to ask Mom about that first house we lived in.”  Before the thought is even completed, we realize we can’t as Mom is gone.

Last June I got the chance not to forget, and I even had my camera along to make a video of my 90-year-old aunt, Helen Lumb, speaking to the last ever graduating class of Beachville Public School.  My nephew, Noah, was in that class, and my Aunt Helen had spent her first two years of school there, 85 years before, a fitting link between them and the school.

Helen Lumb grew up in the Beachville area, was a Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 28, 2012 in General, History, Videos


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Are Books Really Obsolete?

And will they survive all the electronic devices, the movies, the audio formats?  I did a little thinking about this the other day; the chart below holds some of my musings: Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Authors, General, Publishing, Videos


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Emerging Writer Carole-Ann Vance Speaks Out on Video

During an instructive and enjoyable weekend writing retreat last September, Carole-Ann Vance and I found a little free time to talk on camera about her writing.  She is beginning her writing journey and was excited about having just completed her novel’s first draft with the working title, Give Me Your Hands.

Interviewing writers always intrigues me because each one is so unique.  Carole-Ann talked about her love of books, so much a part of her that she walks around hugging the good ones sometimes.  Also her method of doing the actual writing amazed me as I’m such a computer lover and wouldn’t dream of writing any other way.

Carole-Ann finds herself living vicariously through her characters.  She talks about multiple possibilities through her writing which are not available to her in real life.  I enjoyed my time with Carole-Ann because of our shared love of writing but also since she showed her warm sense of humour throughout the interview. You can find the video by clicking this link or by finding Carole-Ann’s name under the Video section to the right of this page.

What did this interview touch on which really spoke to you in your own writing?  Consider leaving a comment on this page and both Carole-Ann and I will endeavour to reply.


Ta-Da: Come Into the Author Salon!

Have you ever had so many writing-related questions you just didn’t know where to turn?  Either as a writer or as an editor or even an agent? Well I have.  Finding Author Salon and working on my profile for the last month has helped me immensely to reshape my novel. This site is expressly for helping writers find markets, and agents, editors and producers find properties. Any member can sign in and peruse the projects listed there.

Here are  7  Reasons Why I’ve Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Authors, Publishing, Videos, Writing Tips


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